ING U.S. Reports Operating Earnings Grow 29% Behind Strong Business Performance

Today the soon to be rebranded ING U.S. (NYSE: VOYA  ) reported operating earnings of $0.75 per share, or $198 million, in the fourth quarter of 2013, well above the earnings per share of $0.59 and $136 million seen in the fourth quarter of 2012. In total operating earnings per share rose by 29% year over year. The company is rebranding itself as Voya Financial Inc.

Source: Voya.

Adjusted operating earnings before taxes from ING's ongoing businesses rose 17% in the fourth quarter of 2013, from $278 million to $324 million. This gain was driven by significant improvements in its retirement and investment management segments. The company highlighted that across its businesses it saw strong growth in assets under management and the fees associated with those businesses.

"From the transformation efforts leading up to our initial public offering in May to the strong year-end results we are reporting today, we made considerable progress in improving our financial results in 2013," said the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ING U.S., Rodney Martin, Jr., in a press release. "Our success can be seen in the 200 basis point increase in our Ongoing Business adjusted operating ROE compared with year-end 2012. At 10.3%, this is a substantial improvement in our ROE and a significant step toward our 2016 target of 12-13%."

In total, net income at ING U.S. skyrocketed from a loss of $23 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 to a gain of $548 million in the most recent quarter, however this was largely the result of significant gains in its actuarial portfolio and hedging strategies.

For the full year in 2013 ING U.S. reported operating earnings of $825 million, a gain of almost 40% over the $597 million seen in 2012. As a result of an increase in shares outstanding from 230 million to 263 million, the gain in earnings per share was 26%, from $2.60 to $3.27.

"Our people delivered an exceptional execution of our plans in 2013. As we head into 2014, we are well positioned to continue improving our ROE and helping our customers with their retirement readiness, by providing them with superior asset accumulation, protection, and distribution products and services," Martin concluded. "At the same time, we are excited about our ongoing transition to Voya Financial, including our plans to change the name of our publicly listed holding company in April."

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