Manulife posts $1.6-billion fourth-quarter net loss on $2.8 billion in charges

TORONTO — Manulife Financial Corp. says a $2.8-billion post-tax charge related to U.S. tax reform and a decision to change its portfolio asset mix resulted in a $1.6 billion or 83 cents per diluted share net loss in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The company earned a net profit of $63 million or a penny per share in the year-earlier period, in which it declared a $1.2-billion charge related to the direct impact of markets.

Manulife CEO Roy Gori says the tax change that hit net income in the most recent quarter will benefit the company in the future, adding Manulife is “fully committed” to transforming its business to become a digital leader with stronger customer focus.

The financial services and insurance company says its quarterly dividend is being increased by seven per cent to 22 cents per common share from 20.5 cents.

It says earnings before special charges in the fourth quarter were $1.20 billion or 59 cents per share, down six per cent from $1.29 billion or 63 cents per share in the same period of 2016, due to lower investment gains, offset by strong growth in Asia business.

For the year, Manulife says it had net earnings of $2.1 billion or 98 cents per share, compared with $2.9 billion or $1.41 per share in 2016.

It says its core earnings before charges for 2017 were $4.56 billion or $2.22 per share, up from $4.02 billion or $1.96 per share in 2016.

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