Aflac ( AFL) posted a rise in its third-quarter profit and maintained full-year earnings guidance.

The Columbus, Ga., insurer said third-quarter operating earnings rose to $333 million, or 66 cents a share, from the year-ago $292 million, or 57 cents a share. Revenue rose 10.5% from a year ago to $3.7 billion. The figures were better than the Wall Street analyst estimate, which called for a 65-cent profit on sales of $10.5 billion.

Although the yen was slightly weaker to the dollar compared with the third quarter of 2004, the impact of foreign currency translation on a per-share basis was not material in the quarter, Aflac said.

The company also declared an 11-cent regular quarterly dividend, payable Dec. 1 to shareholders of record Nov. 18, and said it expects to hit full-year earnings targets.

"Overall, Aflac's sales and financial performance for the third quarter and first nine months of 2005 have been gratifying," said CEO Dan Amos. "We were especially pleased to see Aflac U.S. post strong sales, and we believe we are making steady progress at reestablishing better sales growth.

"Our objective for 2005 is to increase operating earnings per diluted share 15% before the impact of foreign currency translation," Amos said. "Based on the strong results we have produced so far this year, we plan on increasing our sales promotion activities in the fourth quarter. However, we still expect to meet or exceed our earnings objective for the year. At the same time, we have retained our objectives of 15% growth in operating earnings per diluted share before the impact of the yen for 2006, and 13% to 16% growth before currency fluctuations in 2007.

"When we established these financial objectives, we did so using what we considered to be reasonable assumptions. In light of our current results and the overall strength of our operations, we still consider those assumptions to be reasonable, and we also believe our earnings objectives are achievable," Amos said.

On Monday, Aflac shares rose $1.51 to $47.38.