(By Balaseshan) MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) expects full-year 2012 operating earnings to increase 19% over 2011 on both solid investment spreads as well as favorable insurance margins, despite guiding 2013 to be lower than last year.
MetLife estimates 2012 operating earnings of $5.5 billion to $5.6 billion or $5.15 to $5.25 per share, while Street predicts $5.25 per share. The company also expects a 2012 operating return on equity of between 11.0% and 11.1%, up from 10.1% at year-end 2011.
MetLife estimates full year 2012 operating premiums, fees & other revenues of between $47.3 billion and $47.7 billion, up 5% from $45.4 billion in 2011.
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Included in the full year 2012 forecast are expected fourth quarter operating earnings of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion or $1.12 to $1.22 per share, while Street predicts $1.23 per share, compared with $1.2 billion or $1.17 per share last year.
Book value per share, excluding accumulated other comprehensive income, at year-end 2012 is expected to be between $46.97 and $47.41, up from $46.69 at year-end 2011.
During the year 2012, MetLife continued to benefit from strong risk management focus and good expense management. The company also made significant progress on its strategic objectives, expanding in emerging markets, reducing product risk, growing its global employee benefits business and becoming more customer centric.
For the fiscal 2013, the company expects operating earnings of $5.5 billion to $5.9 billion or $4.95 to $5.35 per share, while Street analysts predict $5.47 per share.
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"While our operating earnings per share are expected to be lower in 2013 than in 2012, they are broadly consistent with what we predicted a year ago for an extended low interest rate environment," said Steven Kandarian, chief executive of MetLife.
MET closed Wednesday's regular session up 1.20% at $33.61. The stock has been trading between $27.60 and $39.55 for the past 52 weeks.