Power Corp increases Q1 earnings to $369M; main subsidiary ups dividend 6.4%

MONTREAL – Power Corporation of Canada (TSX:POW) has reported a year-over-year increase in both net and operating earnings in the fourth quarter.

The Montreal-based holding company focused on financial services and other sectors said Wednesday that net income attributable to shareholders in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to $369 million or 80 cents per share from $300 million or 65 cents in the same 2013 period.

Operating earnings were $340 million or 74 cents, up from $218 million or 47 cents.

For the full year, net earnings were $1.275 billion or $2.77 per share, up from $977 million or $2.12 per share for all of 2013.

Earlier Wednesday, the company’s main subsidiary, Power Financial Corp. (TSX:PWF), announced it was raising its quarterly dividend by 6.4 per cent to 37.25 cents per share starting with its May 1 payment.

The dividend increase came as Power Financial a fourth-quarter profit of $506 million or 71 cents per share, down from $593 million or 84 cents per share in the last three months of 2013.

Excluding one-time items, the company said its operating earnings improved to $525 million or 74 cents per share, from $403 million or 57 cents per share.

In addition to its holdings in Great-West (TSX:GWO) and IGM (TSX:IGM), Power Financial also holds a 50 per cent increase in Parjointco N.V., which in turn has about a 55.6 per cent equity interest in Pargesa Holding SA.

Great-West’s contribution to Power Financial’s operating earnings for the quarter totalled $442 million, up from $330 million a year ago, while IGM’s contribution amounted to $122 million, up from $115 million.

Pargesa, which holds interests in a wide range of businesses, added $14 million, down from $21 million.