Genworth Says Profit to Jump 29% at Australia Unit Planning IPO

Genworth Financial Inc. projected net profit will climb 29% this year at the Australian mortgage insurer thatís slated for an initial public offering.

The profit may climb to A$231.1 million ($214 million) as Australiaís mortgage-origination market expands 10%, Richmond, Va.-based Genworth said yesterday in a U.S. regulatory filing that included information distributed to institutional investors in Australia.

Genworth is planning to sell as much as 40% of the unit in the first half of this year, according to the filing. Tom McInerney, chief executive officer of the parent company, said last year that the offering would help reduce risks tied to the nationís economy. Proceeds may be used to trim debt, the CEO has said.

"The Australian MI IPO is a pretty big deal" for Genworth, Mark Palmer, an analyst at BTIG LLC, said in an April 4 research note. The offering could "initiate the stockís next leg up," he said.

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