FBL Financial Group Inc. (FFG - Free Report) reported first quarter operating net earnings of 92 cents per share, a penny below the Zacks Consensus Estimate but up nearly 33% on a year-over-year basis.
Solid underlying results from life insurance and annuity segments coupled with benefit from capital transactions aided the improvement for FBL Financial. Share price also gained 1.4% to close at $44.91 on May 2.
Adjusting for net realized losses, net income of FBL Financial declined 5.2% year over year to 91 cents per share in the reported quarter.
Total revenue inched up 0.3% year over year to $168.5 million. The improvement largely came on the back of higher interest sensitive product charges (up 7.1% year over year) and traditional life insurance premiums (up 1.2%). Net investment income increased about 2% to $92.6 million on increase in average invested assets. However, lower investment yields limited the upside.
Total benefits and expenses increased 3.1% year over year owing to higher interest sensitive product benefits and higher traditional life insurance benefits.
FBL Financial exited the first quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $32.2 million, up substantially from $6.4 million at 2013 end. Total assets improved to $8.7 billion from $8.5 billion at 2013 end, whereas shareholder equity rose to $1.12 billion from $1.04 billion at the end of Dec 2013.
Debt balance of $97 million was flat with 2013-end level.
Additionally, book value per share grew 1.3% to $37.74 on Mar 31, 2014 from $37.27 on Dec 31, 2014.
Dividend and Share Repurchase Update
In March, FBL Financial paid a dividend of 35 cents per share. This includes the 133% hike approved in February.
The company spent $11.2 million to buy back 0.263 million shares in the first quarter. FBL has $50.0 million remaining under its current stock repurchase program approved in February.
FBL Financial carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The bottom line of some other multi-line insurers such as Cigna Corp. (CI - Free Report) , MetLife Inc. (MET - Free Report) and Assurant Inc. (AIZ - Free Report) also outperformed their respective Zacks Consensus Estimate in the first quarter. All these stocks share the same Zacks Rank as FBL Financial