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Shares fall as AGF Management reports lower Q4, full-year earnings

TORONTO - Investment firm AGF Management Ltd. (TSX:AGF.B) reported earnings Wednesday that fell short of expectations as it felt the impact of high restructuring costs in the fourth quarter.

The Toronto-based wealth management firm earned $7.1 million, or eight cents per diluted share, in net income from continuing operations for the three months ended Nov. 30, 2013. This compared with $13 million or 14 cents a share for the same period a year earlier.

The quarter included $3.6 million of restructuring costs.

AGF's adjusted net income from continuing operations was $9.7 million or 11 cents per share, down from $14.6 million or 16 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Its fourth-quarter revenue came in at $117.4 million, compared with $124.9 million a year ago.

For the full year, AGF had net income from continuing operations of $22.4 million, compared with $27.7 million 2012. The company said the results were impacted by a one-time tax payment to the Canada Revenue Agency of $25 million in 2013, versus $32 million a year earlier.

Diluted earnings per share for the year was 25 cents, less than half of the 55 cents a year earlier. While revenue for 2013 was $484.5 million, a five per cent drop for $510.2 million a year earlier.

AGF said net redemptions from a number of institutional accounts resulted in its assets under management dropping to $34.4 billion as of Nov. 30, 2013. This compared with AUM of $39.2 billion for 2012.

Chairman and CEO Blake Goldring, who controls AGF through a private company, said it is focused with expanding and diversifying its global client base with a new platform.

"We continue to focus on our strategic priorities and we are encouraged with the results to date," said Goldring in a statement.

"With the recent successful launch of our UCITS fund family and the opening of our London, England representative office, we remain well positioned to take advantage of the improving economic climate and demand for global mandates."

In a note, Barclays analyst John Aiken said that despite the earnings miss, AGF looks like it is on track with a turnaround.

"For those willing to take the glass is half full viewpoint, the fourth quarter... represents a potential inflection point for AGF's AUM declines. At a minimum, investors have greater visibility on how management is planning to grow AUM going forward," he wrote.

Aiken said the company would get some "relief on the earnings pressure" if it is able to grow its assets under management.

"We continue to believe that AGF is making progress in turning its operations around and believe that longer term investors should be well rewarded but compensated in the near term by its strong dividend yield," he said.

Shares in AGF fell four per cent, or 51 cents, to $11.90 by mid-morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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