Asset sales lift AIG profit

City A.M. Reporter
Bailed-out insurer American International Group (AIG) earned $11.2bn (£6.94bn) in the fourth quarter on asset sales, but charges to expand its reserves for old <a href=""; target="_blank">asbestos claims</a> pushed its underlying operations into another loss.

AIG, which was literally minutes from collapse in the fall of 2008, survived thanks to a $182bn government bailout and the divestiture of major international insurance units like Alico and AIA to remain in business.

The company, led by chief executive Bob Benmosche, is hoping to begin repaying taxpayer funds with the help of an upcoming stock sale worth at least $15bn, following in the footsteps of other bailout recipients like Citigroup and General Motors.

AIG’s global property insurance business Chartis, one of the key units on which it is staking its future as a private company, lost $4bn in the quarter on those asbestos reserve charges, which had been previously announced. AIG said it earned $11.18bn, compared with a year-earlier loss of $8.87bn.

The profit in the most recent quarter included a one-time net gain of more than $16bn on asset sales. AIG had said in November it would record a “material gain” on the sale of Alico to MetLife.