Irish buildup pays off

Article Excerpt

GREAT-WEST LIFECO $34.92 (Toronto symbol GWO; Shares outstanding: 996.7 million; Market cap: $35.2 billion; TSINetwork Rating: Above Average; Yield: 3.7%; www.greatwestlifeco.com) has reported strong results in its latest quarter and raised its dividend. Great-West is Canada’s largest insurance company. It also offers mutual funds and wealth management. Power Financial owns 67.0% of Great-West. The company’s earnings per share jumped 34.7% in the three months ended December 31, 2014, to $0.66 from $0.49 a year earlier. Revenue rose 33.1%, to $10.7 billion from $8.1 billion. Great-West has also raised its quarterly dividend by 6.0%, to $0.3260 a share from $0.3075. The new annual rate of $1.30 yields 3.7%. The company continues to expand in Ireland. It recently agreed to pay an undisclosed sum for the Irish operations of Legal & General Group plc. This business provides investment and tax-planning services to wealthy individuals. Legal & General looks like a nice fit with Irish Life, a leading pension manager and insurance firm…

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