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CNO Financial boosts fourth-quarter profit

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CNO Financial Group's fourth-quarter profit rose 57 percent compared with the same period in the previous year, the company announced late Monday.

The Carmel-based holding company for insurance firms reported fourth-quarter 2012 net income of $101.2 million, or 41 cents a share. It posted profit of $64.4 million, or 23 cents per share, for the same period in 2011. For the full year, the company recorded net income of $221 million, or 83 cents per share, as compared with $335.7 million and $1.15 per share in 2011.

CNO’s net operating income of 25 cents per share exceeded a consensus analyst estimate of 23 cents compiled by Zacks Equity Research. That compares with 2011 net operating income of 18 cents a share.

“We again delivered positive results with strong earnings growth for both the fourth quarter and full year, as our business continued to perform well,” said CEO Ed Bonach.

The parent of Bankers Life, Washington National and Colonial Penn said total revenue hit $1.06 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, an increase over $1.05 billion in the same quarter of 2011.

CNO cited a number of business upturns. Sales as measured by new annualized premiums rose 2 percent in the quarter, to $105.7 million. Bonach also was pleased with a sales force expansion under way.

The company strengthened its financial position last year by restructuring debt. It also has been repurchasing its stock, and in 2013 is expected to spend up to $300 million in additional share buybacks and dividend payouts.
 

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