COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Insurance company Aflac Inc. said Tuesday that its profit doubled in the first quarter as a stronger yen helped drive revenue higher.
Aflac, which provides disability and supplemental insurance primarily in Japan and the U.S., said net income grew to $785 million, or $1.68 a share, in the three months ended March 31. That compares with net income of $389 million, or 83 cents a share, in the prior-year period.
Stripping out one-time items from investment gains and losses, the company said operating earnings were $814 million, or $1.74 a share.
The results trumped analysts’ average forecast, which called for earnings of $1.65 a share, according to FactSet. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude one-time items.
Quarterly revenue grew about 22 percent to $6.24 billion from $5.12 billion a year earlier, ahead of the average analyst estimate of $6.01 billion.
The company does a significant portion of its business in Japan, so a stronger yen means its revenue there translates into more dollars.
Aflac Japan’s total revenue in yen increased 7.8 percent in the quarter. When converted to dollars, however, the stronger exchange rate meant the unit’s total revenue increased 12 percent to $4.9 billion.
Management said it expects Aflac Japan’s full-year sales to increase by 10 percent. The company had previously forecast a decline in sales for the year.
Total revenue for Aflac U.S. rose 5.2 percent to $1.4 billion in the quarter.
The company anticipates earnings for the year to be reduced by about 5 cents per share, reflecting costs associated with acquiring or renewing insurance contracts. It forecast an adjusted profit of $6.46 to $6.65 per share for the year before the effect of currency translation. Analysts expect a full-year profit of $6.48 per share, on average.
Meanwhile, the company declared a second-quarter cash dividend of 33 cents. The dividend will be paid on June 1 to shareholders of record on May 16.
Shares of Aflac ended regular trading up 64 cents at $42. The stock added another 15 cents to $42.15 in extended trading.