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Manulife Financial Corp. says it earned record profits last year as fourth-quarter net income increased 17% to $2.08 billion.

The Toronto-based insurer and financial services company says its earnings attributable to shareholders reached $7.1 billion in 2021, up 21% from $5.87 billion in 2020, driven by its insurance business.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Manulife earned $1.03 per diluted share, up from 89 cents per share or $1.78 billion a year earlier.

Core earnings were $1.71 billion or 84 cents per share, two cents higher than forecast by analysts, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. They compared with $1.47 billion or 74 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Core full-year earnings grew to $6.54 billion or $3.25 per share, from $5.52 billion or $2.75 per share in the prior year.

New business increased to $555 million in the quarter and to $2.24 billion for the year, with Asia contributing $391 million and $1.67 billion respectively.

“Our ability to adapt and serve clients across the globe who are navigating a very uncertain environment continues to drive our operating results,” stated CEO Roy Gori.