Manulife denies speculation of common share equity raise



    TSX/NYSE/PSE: MFC; SEHK: 945

    TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - Manulife Financial Corporation announced that,
in the absence of a strategic transaction, it does not intend to raise common
share equity capital. Although equity markets have declined since the
beginning of the year, Manulife continues to be well-capitalized and is able
to withstand additional equity volatility.
    Manulife recently filed in the ordinary course with Canadian securities
regulators a renewal preliminary shelf prospectus similar to many other
companies. It also filed a new preliminary shelf prospectus with US
regulators. These documents are intended to provide maximum flexibility for
Manulife to take advantage of the many acquisition opportunities available in
current markets. Any such acquisitions would be principally funded through
common share equity at the time of the acquisition.
    Dominic D'Alessandro, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "Given
our financial strength, we may be one of the few global companies able to do a
large strategic acquisition in these opportunistic markets. We continue to be
very disciplined in our approach. Any transaction must be beneficial to our
shareholders and must maintain our capital position for the benefit of our
policyholders."
    The shelf prospectus will also enable Manulife to refinance its debt and
other obligations in the ordinary course through the issue of debt and
preferred shares as market conditions allow.

    About Manulife Financial

    Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide.
Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John
Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of
financial protection products and wealth management services through its
extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under
management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$405 billion
(US$330 billion) as at December 31, 2008.
    Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet
at www.manulife.com.

    Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

    This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the "safe harbour" provisions of Canadian provincial securities laws and the
U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking
statements relate to, among other things, our objectives, goals, strategies,
intentions, plans, beliefs, expectations and estimates, and can generally be
identified by the use of words such as "may", "will", "could", "should",
"would", "suspect", "outlook", "expect", "intend", "estimate", "anticipate",
"believe", "plan", "forecast", "objective", "continue" and "endeavour" (or the
negative thereof) and words and expressions of similar import, and include
statements concerning possible or assumed future results. Although we believe
that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are
reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties, and undue
reliance should not be placed on such statements. Certain material factors or
assumptions are applied in making forwardlooking statements, and actual
results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such
statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from expectations include but are not limited to: general business
and economic conditions (including but not limited to performance of equity
markets, interest rate fluctuations, currency rates, investment losses and
defaults, movements in credit spreads, market liquidity and creditworthiness
of guarantors and counterparties); level of competition and consolidation;
changes in laws and regulations; Company liquidity, including the availability
of financing to satisfy existing financial liabilities on their expected
maturity dates when required; accuracy of information received from
counterparties and the ability of counterparties to meet their obligations;
accuracy of accounting policies and actuarial methods used by the Company; the
ability to maintain the Company's reputation; legal and regulatory
proceedings; the ability to adapt products and services to the changing
market; the ability to implement effective hedging strategies; the ability to
attract and retain key executives; the ability to complete acquisitions
including the availability of equity and debt financing for this purpose; the
ability to execute strategic plans; the disruption of or changes to key
elements of the Company's or public infrastructure systems; and environmental
concerns. Additional information about material factors that could cause
actual results to differ materially from expectations and about material
factors or assumptions applied in making forward-looking statements may be
found in the body of this document as well as under "Risk Factors" in our most
recent Annual Information Form, under "Risk Management" and "Critical
Accounting and Actuarial Policies" in the Management's Discussion and Analysis
in our most recent annual and interim reports, in the "Risk Management" note
to consolidated financial statements in our most recent annual and interim
reports and elsewhere in our filings with Canadian and U.S. securities
regulators. We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statements
except as required by law.




For further information:

For further information: Media inquiries: Laurie Lupton, (416) 852-7792,
laurie_lupton@manulife.com; Investor Relations: Amir Gorgi, 1-800-795-9767,
investor_relations@manulife.com


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