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EARNINGS ROUNDUP

Aetna cites marketing in 28% net-income rise

October 27, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Health insurer Aetna Inc. said third-quarter profit rose 28%, driven in part by aggressive campaigns that added more than 700,000 customers in the last year.

Net income for the Hartford, Conn.-based company rose to $476.4 million, or 85 cents a share, from $372.8 million, or 62 cents, during the same period last year.

Excluding reserve development, operating earnings grew to 78 cents a share in the latest quarter, up from 58 cents and well ahead of the average analyst estimate, as polled by Thomson Financial, of 72 cents a share.

Revenue increased 11% to $6.3 billion.

Aetna Chief Executive Ronald A. Williams said the growth was a result of expansion into new geographic areas. The company has added 733,000 members in the last year, he said.

Aetna said it expected medical costs to rise 8% by the end of the year, which will lead to premium increases.

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