(New throughout, adds details from filing and context about
interest rate increases)
By Suzanne Barlyn
NEW YORK Dec 15 MetLife Inc expects
higher U.S. interest rates to add $300 million to operating
profits through 2019, the insurer said in a filing on Thursday.
The New York-based company, which provides life insurance,
annuities and employee benefits, detailed anticipated benefits
from higher U.S. interest rates in an 8-K filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.
At the same time, MetLife said it would face challenges in
some foreign businesses and expenses for a cost-cutting program.
MetLife forecast an earnings bump of $45 million next year,
followed by $105 million in 2018 and $150 million in 2019,
because of interest rate hikes.
The U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates a quarter point on
Wednesday and signaled a faster pace of increases in 2017 as the
Trump administration takes over with promises to boost growth
through tax cuts, spending and deregulation.
Additionally, MetLife disclosed it would incur $300 million
in pretax expenses in 2017 for a cost-cutting program announced
earlier this year.
The company's baseline operating earnings in its Latin
American business would be about 10 percent lower in 2017,
mostly due to Mexico's declining peso, MetLife said.
Uncertainty about potential changes to MetLife's pension
business in Chile could adversely impact operating earnings in
Latin America by up to 5 percent, the company said.
(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn)