Great-West Lifeco’s net earnings up 24% in first quarter

Great-West Lifeco Inc. is reporting a 24 per cent rise in earnings for the first quarter of 2018 on the strength of solid sales results and cost controls.

The company posted earnings of $731 million in the first quarter, up from $591 million during the same period last year.

“Great-West Lifeco delivered strong first quarter results reflecting healthy sales growth and disciplined expense management,” said Paul Mahon, president and chief executive officer of Great-West Lifeco, in a news release.

“The company maintained its strong capital position after transitioning to the new regulatory capital regime in Canada and continued to advance its growth agenda with tuck-in acquisitions and investments in technology and innovation across the organization.”

Read: Great-West Life’s net earnings fall slightly in first quarter

The company’s earnings in Canada were also up 24 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017. Earnings for the company’s Canadian segment in the first quarter of 2018 were $316 million, up from $255 million during the same period last year. As for the U.S. segment, earnings were up 18 per cent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period last year.

The performance reflects strong group customer results and cost reductions, according to the company, which noted it had achieved pre-tax annualized expense reductions of about $137 million by March 31, 2018. Helping boost the company’s performance was a seven per cent increase in sales over 2017.

The company also announced it had added $2.1 billion in real estate holding to the Canadian segment’s portfolio of assets under administration due to the acquisition of U.S. real estate advisor EverWest Real Estate Investors through Great-West Life’s subsidiary, GWL Realty Advisors Inc.

Read: Great-West Life reports boost in adjusted earnings amid strong sales in Canada