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Gains in all three major holdings boost Power Financial's Q1 earnings

TORONTO – Power Financial Corp. (TSX: PWF) has reported a sharp increase in first-quarter profit amid higher operating earnings from its major holdings.

The diversified Montreal-based holding company, which was conducting its annual meeting in Toronto, said Thursday that its net earnings for the three months ended March 31 were $573 million or 80 cents per share.

That was up 22 per cent from $467 million of 66 cents in the same year-earlier period.

All three of its major holdings, including Great-West Lifeco (TSX:GWO) and IGM Financial (TSX:IGM), in which it has majority stakes, contributed to the increase. Power Financial also holds a 50 per cent increase in Parjointco N.V., which in turn has about a 55.5 per cent equity interest in Pargesa Holding SA.

Great-West reported operating and net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $700 million or 70 cents share, up from $587 million or 59 cents in the 2014 period. It contributed $493 million in operating earnings to Power Financial in the quarter, compared with $393 million a year ago.

IGM reported operating and net earnings available to common shareholders of $200 million or 80 per share, compared with $194 million or 77 cents. It contributed $119 million in operating earnings compared with $116 million.

Pargesa’s contribution to operating earnings in the quarter totalled $19 million, reversing a loss of $17 million in the year-earlier period.

Power Financial is the main subsidiary of Power Corporation (TSX:POW) which, through other subsidiaries, a one-third owner of The Canadian Press.