UPDATE 2-National Financial Partners Q4 cash profit tops Street

miércoles 11 de febrero de 2009 00:23 CET

* Q4 cash earnings $0.70/shr vs estimate of $0.62

* Gross margin up 1.7 basis points sequentially at 19.2 pct

* Q4 net loss $0.26/shr, hurt by charge

* Q4 rev falls 16 pct to $299.3 mln (Recasts; adds details, analyst comments, background)

By Anurag Kotoky

BANGALORE, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Life insurance distributor National Financial Partners NFP.N posted a quarterly cash profit that beat market estimates, helped by a sequential growth in gross margin.

The company posted a net loss of $10.7 million, compared with a profit of $19.3 million a year earlier. The fourth-quarter loss included a goodwill impairment charge of $31 million.

But the company's quarterly cash profit, which excludes amortization of intangibles, depreciation, and charges, exceeded market estimates.

Though the overall operating environment still remains very challenging, and organic growth was significantly negative, the company managed to come out better than expectations in terms of earnings on improved margins, Jukka Lipponen, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods told Reuters.   Continuación...