Principal Financial net profit rises in 4th quarter 2012

Quarterly dividend declared for 2012 fourth quarter

Principal Financial Group, with operations in downtown Cedar Rapids, reported a higher fourth-quarter and annual net profit on Thursday and a 10 percent increase in its fourth-quarter common share dividend.

The Des Moines-based insurer and investment manager posted net income of $218.6 million, or 74 cents per share for fourth quarter of 2012, compared with $148.5 million, or 48 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2011.

The company attributed the higher earnings to a strong increase in operating earnings and improvement in credit-related losses.

Wall Street analysts on average were expecting fourth-quarter earnings of 74 cents per share.

Operating revenues for the quarter that ended Dec. 31 were $2.3 billion, compared with $2.1 billion for the same period of 2011.

Principal Financial recorded net income of $772.9 million, or $2.57 per share for the year that ended on Dec. 31, compared with $619.7 million, or $1.95 per share for the final quarter of 2011. Operating revenues for 2012 were $9.2 billion, compared with $8.3 billion for 2011.

Larry Zimpleman, Principal Financial chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the company ended 2012 with very strong fourth quarter earnings.

"The continued strength of our underlying business fundamentals and successful execution of our strategy gives us momentum going into 2013," Zimpleman said. "We significantly advanced our international strategy with two acquisitions in Latin America last year.

"Closing on Cuprum (in Chile, a third recent Latin American acquisition) will further solidify our position as a global investment management leader in 2013 and beyond."

Principal Financial also announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 23 cents per share of common stock, an increase of 10 percent over the dividend for the fourth quarter of 2012 . The dividend will be paid on March 29 to shareholders of record as of March 11.

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