MetLife Inc , the biggest U.S. life insurance company, posted a second-quarter profit of $1.53 billion, helped by higher premium revenue from sales domestically and abroad.

Net income was $1.84 a share, compared with a loss of $1.43 billion, or $1.74 a share, in the same quarter last year.

Operating earnings, which exclude investment gains and losses, were $1.02 billion, or $1.23 a share, beating analysts' average forecast of $1.00 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

MetLife was hit by investment losses during the financial crisis, but the company has been posting profits since the fourth quarter of last year.

MetLife agreed in March to buy American International Group Inc's foreign life insurance in a deal worth $15.5 billion at the time. The deal, expected to close later this year, could bolster MetLife's earnings from overseas.

Premium and fee revenue rose 4 percent to $8.68 billion.

The company's shares rose more than 3 percent to $41.55 in after-hours trade.

Book value per share rose 10 percent from the first quarter to $45.51.

(Reporting by Dan Wilchins; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)