Protective Life Net Rises

It beats estimates.
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Protective Life's

(PL)

fourth-quarter earnings rose 19.5% from a year ago, helped by record sales in life insurance.

The company earned $68.5 million, or 96 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $57.3 million, or 80 cents a share, a year ago. The current quarter's net income includes net realized investment losses of 6 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $63.7 million, or 90 cents a share, in the most recent quarter.

Protective's fourth quarter revenue fell 14.2% from a year ago to $563.1 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting revenue of $530.9 million in the most recent quarter.

By segment, revenue from life marketing rose 3.2% to $76.6 million. Pretax operating income for the segment rose 15% to $48.1 million. The increase in the current quarter was primarily a result of increased sales and an increase in investment income as a result of the growth in related life insurance reserves.

Revenue from annuities fell 47.6% to $155 million. Pretax operating income in the annuities segment increased to $14.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2005, compared with $4.7 million, a year ago.

Revenue from stable value products rose 20.2% to $213.3 million. Pretax operating income in the segment fell 7.7% to $13.1 million, due to higher interest expense.

Revenue from asset protection rose 8.6% to $118.2 million in the fourth quarter. Pretax operating income rose 36.9% to $6.3 million in the fourth quarter 2005.

"We are pleased to end 2005 on a positive note. Our emphasis in 2006 will be on the integration of the insurance companies to be acquired from JPMorgan Chase, the continued expansion of distribution in our life insurance and annuity lines, the development of efficient capital market solutions as a means to improve the competitiveness of our universal life products, building on the positive momentum achieved in 2005 in our Asset Protection segment and addressing the challenges presented by low interest rates and a flat yield curve." the company said.

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