By Dow Jones Business News, October 29, 2013, 05:25:00 PM EDT
By Tess Stynes
Aflac Inc.'s ( AFL ) third-quarter earnings fell 31% as impacts from a weaker yen continued to weigh on its core
operations in Japan.
However, the company's board approved a 5.7% increase in Aflac's quarterly dividend to 37 cents a share. The company
also plans to buyback $800 million of its shares this year, up from its July estimate of $600 million. Aflac also
increased its estimates for 2014 stock repurchases to $800 million to $1 billion, from its previous view for $600
million to $900 million.
For the year, the company raised its per-share operating earnings estimate to $6.16 to $6.21, from its previous
estimate for $5.83 to $6.37.
For the fourth quarter, Aflac projected operating earnings of $1.38 to $1.43. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters
recently expected $1.41.
Aflac, which earns most of its revenue from Japan, has been hurt by the effects of a weaker yen against the dollar in
recent quarters. The company has been hoping to help boost its sales in Japan with its introduction of a new medical
product during August. The insurer earlier this year also formed a partnership with Japan Post Holdings Co. to sell
Aflac cancer-insurance policies at post offices, broadening its distribution and access to new customers.
In the latest period Aflac Japan's total revenue fell 14% to $4.4 billion, but excluding currency impacts was up 9.1%.
In its U.S. business, sales have been hurt by weak hiring trends, especially at smaller employees, where the vast
majority of Aflac's business is written. In the latest quarter, total U.S. revenue increased 2.9% to $1.5 billion.
Aflac reported a profit of $702 million, or $1.50 per a share, down from $1 billion, or $2.16 a share, a year earlier.
The latest period included net after-tax realized investment gains of three cents a share, compared with investment
losses of 39 cents a share a year earlier.
Operating earnings, which exclude investment gains and losses, hedging impacts and other items, were down at $1.47 a
share from $1.77 a share. The company had forecast $1.41 to $1.51.
Revenue decreased 14% to $5.9 billion, matching analysts' expectations.
Shares were down 1.5% at $66 in recent after-hours trading. Through the close, the stock is up 26% this year.
Write to Tess Stynes at firstname.lastname@example.org
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