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Buoyant Asian market helps lift profits at Prudential

By Abigail Townsend

Date: Wednesday 13 Mar 2019

Buoyant Asian market helps lift profits at Prudential

(Sharecast News) - Prudential thanked its Asian business for a jump in annual profits on Wednesday, as the blue chip insurer updated investors on plans to spin off its UK savings and investment arm.
Operating profits came in at £4.83bn for 2018, a 6% increase on a constant exchange rate basis and marginally ahead of forecasts. The improvement was led by Asia, where operating profits rose 14% to £2.2bn.

In the US, where Prudential owns the life business Jackson, operating profits fell 11%, after higher fee income was offset by steeper amortisation costs and lower spread-based income.

Mike Wells, chief executive, said: "Our financial performance, again led by our Asia operations, is testament to the scale of our opportunity set, the depth of our capabilities and our unrelenting focus on executing our strategy at pace."

Last March, Prudential announced plans to demerge its savings and investment business M&G Prudential, creating two separately listed businesses and allowing it to focus on faster-growing operations in Asia and America.

Wells said Prudential had made "good progress" in preparations for the demerger, with operating profits up 19% at the arm. The rise was attributed to updated longevity assumptions and an 11% hike in the shareholder transfer from the with-profits business.

There was no update on the timing of the split. But Prudential confirmed a holding company for M&G had been established, and that a chunk of its annuity book was being sold off to Rothesay Life. It has also started the process of the splitting the group's debt.

Wells said: "The intended demerger will further enhance the strategic focus of both businesses. I am confident that, given he extent of our opportunities and our proven ability to execute and innovate, we are well positioned to growth profitability."


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