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Manulife, Sun Life's Q3 earnings get Asia boost despite Hong Kong tensions

TORONTO — Manulife Financial Corp. and Sun Life Financial Corp. say anti-government protests in Hong Kong have not had a large impact on their businesses there.

The Canadian insurers made the comments after they both reported that they benefited from strong growth in Asia in the third-quarter.

President of Sun Life Asia Claude Accum says the demonstrations in Hong Kong have resulted in a slowdown of mainland Chinese visitors travelling to the city to do their medcials and buy insurance, but the impact on the insurer’s business has been “quite modest.”

Manulife Asia chief executive Anil Wadhwani told a conference call that it is watching the “challenging” Hong Kong situation and its “not unreasonable” to expect some headwinds in future quarters, but the Toronto-based insurer feels “confident” about its franchise.

On Wednesday, Sun Life reported adjusted profits for the quarter ended Sept. 30 of $809 million, up 11 per cent from the previous-quarter, helped by 25 per cent growth in Asia.

Manulife reported net income attributable to shareholders of $723 million, down sharply from a year earlier but better than analysts expected, fuelled by double-digit growth in Asia.

Protests in Hong Kong began in June against a now-abandoned extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to be sent for trials in mainland China, but the movement has since grown into calls for greater democracy and police accountability. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSX:MFC, TSX:SLF)

The Canadian Press