Cigna 4Q income plummets

With one-time gains from the sale of its retirement benefits division leveling off, Cigna’s fourth-quarter earnings fell nearly 60 percent.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2005, net income totaled $224 million, or $1.78 per share, compared with $558 million, or $4.16 per share, for the same period last year.

According to a press release from the Philadelphia-based health insurer, the fourth quarter of 2005 included a gain of $4 million from the sale of Cigna’s retirement benefits business, while the same quarter the previous year included a net gain of about $165 million from various non-recurring items.

If the one-time gains and losses are excluded, adjusted income from operations for the fourth quarter of 2005 was $249 million, or $1.98 per share, versus $323 million, or $2.41 per share, for the same period last year.

Net income for 2005 was $1.64 billion, or $12.63 per share, up about 12 percent from 2004 earnings of $1.44 billion, or $10.43 per share.

Cigna expects 2006 full-year adjusted income from operations to be in the range of $7.25 to $7.70 per share, officials said, with $1.65 to $1.80 per share for the first quarter. — CINDY KIBBE

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