* Takes C$844 mln charge on U.S. annuities sale
* Operating profit tops estimates
TORONTO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Sun Life Financial,Canada's No. 3 life insurer, said on Wednesday it fell to athird-quarter net loss due to charges related to the sale of itsU.S. annuities business, but operating profit topped estimates.
Toronto-based Sun Life took a C$844 million loss on theannuities business, which it sold during the quarter as part ofa push to reduce its exposure to uncertain stock markets andinterest rates.
On a net basis, Sun Life lost C$520 million ($499.30million), or 84 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter, comparedwith a year-before profit of C$383 million, or 64 Canadian centsper share.
Excluding the impact of the sale, operating income was C$422million, or 69 Canadian cents a share, down from a year-earlierC$459 million, or 77 Canadian cents a share.
The results beat analysts' expectations of a profit of 64Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sun Life has spent the last several quarters working toreduce its market exposure through hedging and re-aligning itsbusiness.
Operating income was reduced by C$111 million due in part toassumption changes related to insurance contract liabilities,compared to a year-earlier gain of C$164 million.
Premiums and deposits on a continuing operations basis roseto C$32.9 billion from C$26.1 billion.
Earlier on Wednesday, Industrial Alliance Insurance andFinancial Services, Canada's No. 4 insurer, reported astronger-than-expected profit of C$105.8 million, or C$1.07 ashare, up from a year-before profit of C$103.3 million, orC$1.09 a share.
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