Manulife Bests Expectations with Strong Asian Market Performance

Manulife has reportedly surpassed financial projections, largely due to the growth of its Asian operations, according to news reports.

The loosening of pandemic-related travel restrictions has notably boosted insurance sales in Hong Kong to visitors from mainland China, as reported by Bloomberg

The company reported a 28% increase in core earnings to C$1.74 billion ($1.3 billion), surpassing the average analyst prediction of 83 cents per share with 92 cents per share in the third quarter.

Manulife CEO Roy Gori reportedly highlighted the significant contribution of the Asian market to the company's recent success, especially the increased demand from mainland Chinese tourists in Hong Kong. The company's stock also reflected this positive trend, rising 3.4% to C$25.77 in Toronto trading, showing a 6.6% increase in 2023.

Manulife's Asian segment showed a 33% increase in core earnings to C$390 million, attributed to both actuarial adjustments and strong commercial performance, particularly from mainland Chinese clients. This contrasts with the modest 4% growth in its Canadian operations and a slight decline in the U.S. business. The overall net income for shareholders also saw a significant 87% increase to C$1.01 billion, aided by a one-time tax benefit.

However, the company faced challenges due to the difficult economic environment, resulting in a C$400 million charge on its alternative long-duration assets. These challenges included losses in commercial real estate values and higher-than-expected credit losses of C$110 million, mainly from investments in Hawaiian Electric bonds affected by wildfires. Despite these setbacks, RBC Capital Markets analyst Darko Mihelic remains optimistic about the company's core performance.