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AmerUs will report leap in earnings, analysts say


AmerUs Group Co.’s revenues could leap by 21 percent in the second quarter, according to stock market analysts. The life insurance and annuity company is expected to post revenues of $415 million for the quarter that ended June 30, compared with $344 million in the same period a year ago. That should translate into earnings of $1.10 per share, according to analysts, compared with $1.02 per share a year ago.

The company plans to report second-quarter earnings after the close of markets July 26. A conference call is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 27.

AmerUs recently was added to the Russell 1000 stock index. In recent market sessions, AmerUs’ stock traded just pennies below its 52-week high of $49.60.

In June, the company announced that it would postpone an offering of its Series A non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock because market conditions weren’t optimal and the company doesn’t need the liquidity or capital. The company still plans to repurchase up to 6 million shares of its common stock.

In other end-of-quarter news from Central Iowa-based companies:

EMC Insurance Group Inc. is expected to report second-quarter earnings of 40 cents per share compared with 12 cents a year ago. The stock of the property and casualty insurer has received “buy” recommendations from several analysts; during the past six months, company insiders have bought 226,783 shares and sold only 6,321.

FBL Financial Group Inc. will release its second-quarter data Aug. 8, and it’s expected that the life insurance, annuity and mutual fund company will report earnings of 51 cents per share on sales of $172 million. A year ago, FBL earned 43 cents per share on sales of $161.6 million.

A.M. Best Co. recently affirmed its financial strength rating of A for the company. According to Best, the rating “reflects the company’s high but declining level of assets within real estate-related investments and its increasing dependence on annuity production for earnings, as new life insurance production has generally been flat over the latest five-year period.”

Maytag Corp. is expected to report flat revenues today (July 18); the forecast of $1.15 billion matches the actual results of a year ago. Analysts expect earnings per share of 10 cents. The recent quarter was marked by offers to buy the company and a class-action lawsuit charging Maytag management with making false or misleading statements that affected the company’s stock price. Maytag has said the lawsuit is without merit.

Meredith Corp. should keep rolling on with an increase in revenues to $324 million for its fourth quarter, compared with $304 million a year ago. Earnings per share are forecast to be 83 cents, compared with 72 cents a year ago.

The publishing and broadcasting company on July 1 completed its acquisition of four magazines from Gruner + Jahr for $350 million. A Meredith statement said the company expects the transaction to generate more than $30 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and to have a modest impact on earnings per share in the 2006 fiscal year.

Principal Financial Group Inc. is expected to report a 12 percent increase in earnings for its second quarter when it releases results after the close of markets Aug. 1. A conference call will follow on Aug. 2 at 9 a.m. Analysts estimate that the financial services company earned 66 cents per share during the quarter, compared with 54 cents in the year-ago period. Revenues are estimated at $2.2 billion, compared with $1.98 billion a year ago.

During the quarter, Principal was listed 37th on Computerworld magazine’s list of the top 100 workplaces for U.S. information technology professionals.

Sauer-Danfoss Inc., a German-controlled company with corporate headquarters in Ames, is expected to report second-quarter earnings Aug. 3, and analysts expect robust numbers once again. Revenues of $447 million are forecast, an 18 percent rise over the year-ago figure of $379 million.

Analysts expect earnings of 50 cents per share, compared with 46 cents a year ago.

Sauer-Danfoss Vice President Thomas Kittel sold 120,000 shares in May and June at share prices ranging from $19 to $20.33; the total value of the transactions was $2.36 million.

West Bancorporation Inc., the parent company of West Bank in West Des Moines, reported net income of $4.84 million, or 29 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2005. The figures for the year-earlier period were $4.26 million in income and per-share earnings of 25 cents. Loan growth contributed to a $1.024 million increase in net interest income. The banking company reported cash and cash equivalents of $56.2 million at the end of the first quarter; that figure stood at $29.9 million when the year began.

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