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Principal Financial profit jumps on higher revenue

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Financial services company Principal Financial Group Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit jumped by 47 percent, helped by losses on commercial mortgage investments winding down.

The company, based in Des Moines, Iowa, said net income grew to $218.6 million, from $148.5 million a year ago.

After excluding one-time charges, earnings were 82 cents per share, beating the 74 cents that analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Revenue increased 9 percent, to $2.3 billion. Analysts expected $2.4 billion.

Earnings in the recent quarter benefited as losses related to sales and impairments of some investments, including investments in commercial mortgage backed securities, shrunk.

Sales in the retirement and investor services unit jumped, partly because more companies paid out special shareholder dividends before the end of 2012 to beat potential new taxes.

Assets under management increased, and so did revenue from fees. CEO Larry Zimpleman noted that the company is expanding internationally, with two acquisitions in Latin America last year.

Principal Financial said it will pay a quarterly dividend of 23 cents per share, up 10 percent from the dividend it paid a year ago, on March 29 to shareholders of record March.

Shares rose 28 cents to close at $31.01.