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Power Corp. of Canada posted a 25 per cent drop in third-quarter profit on Thursday as key operating subsidiaries contributed less and income and investments dropped.

The Montreal-based holding company said net income was $250-million, or 52 cents a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30. That was down from $332-million, or 70 cents a share, a year earlier.

Power Corp., controlled by Montreal's Desmarais family, said operating earnings were $252-million, or 53 cents a share, down from $334-million, or 71 cents a share.

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Analysts had expected earnings of 61 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company owns 66 pe rcent of Power Financial Corp. , which in turn controls insurance company Great-West Lifeco Inc. and mutual fund company IGM Financial Inc. Great-West's profit rose in the third quarter, while IGM's profit was down 16 per cent.

On Thursday, Power Financial said its net income for the quarter edged 1 per cent lower, coming in slightly below analysts' estimates. Quarterly earnings were $452-million, or 61 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. This is down from a profit of $457-million, or 62 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected earnings of 63 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The results included a charge of $3-million related to its share of non-operating results recorded by Swiss-based Pargesa Holding SA. Power Financial has a 50 per cent stake in Parjointco NV, which in turn has a 54.1 per cent interest in Pargesa. That compared with a charge of $2-million in the third quarter of 2008.

Power Corp. said subsidiaries contributed $288-million to its operating earnings, down from $293-million last year.

"The decrease in operating earnings in 2009 also reflects a lower level of income from investments compared with 2008," Power Corp. said in a statement.

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