Rising interest rates will only spur Athene to look at more insurance deals this year, chairman and CEO James R. Belardi said.
Athene announced it would reinsure $19 billion worth of fixed and fixed indexed annuity liabilities from Voya Financial in December, and earlier last year also entered into a flow reinsurance deal with Lincoln Financial.
The economics of the Voya deal seem even better now than on Dec. 21 when the transaction was announced given the rise in bond yields, Belardi told Wall Street analysts.
“Our invested assets will be approximately $100 billion after closing the transaction, and we are currently pursuing additional acquisition opportunities,” Belardi said.
The Voya deal is expected to close in the second or third quarter of this year, Athene said.
Analaysts had already pointed to Athene as a big winner in the Voya deal.
Athene will continue to diversify its product portfolio and grow its U.S. retail channel through deeper relationships with the approximately 65 insurance marketing organizations and the more than 34,000 independent agents with which the company does business, the company said.
Growth could also come from reinsurance funding agreements and pension risk transfer deals, the company said.
Athene competes in the retirement savings market with Allianz Life and American Equity Life, and the company routinely sits near the top of the indexed annuity sales tables.
Last year, the first year the company operated as a public company, was a “milestone” for Athene.
“In our first year of being public we executed on our growth initiatives, generated very strong financial results and set the stage for long-term strategic growth," Belardi said.
Fourth-quarter net income rose 27 percent to $464 million compared to the year-ago period, the company said.
Fourth-quarter adjusted operating income rose 19 percent to $332 million compared to the year-ago period.
The company reported per-share adjusted operating income of $1.69, easily beating analysts’ estimates of $1.29 per share.
Athene Holding is based in Bermuda but operates in the U.S. annuity market through Athene USA in West Des Moines, Iowa.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected]