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Prudential posts 17% jump in operating profit to £1.88b

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UK-BASED insurer Prudential plc on Tuesday reported a 17 per cent jump in operating profit to £1.88 billion (S$4.1 billion) for the first six months of this year, lifted by growth in its Asian, US and UK life and asset management businesses.

UK-BASED insurer Prudential plc on Tuesday reported a 17 per cent jump in operating profit to £1.88 billion (S$4.1 billion) for the first six months of this year, lifted by growth in its Asian, US and UK life and asset management businesses.

The first-half interim dividend rose 10 per cent to 12.31 pence a share.

New business profit for H1 2015 rose 12 per cent on a constant exchange rate basis to £1.19 billion, boosted by a 30 per cent increase in its Asian life business.

New business sales or APE (annual premium equivalent) sales rose 13 per cent on a constant currency basis to £2.73 billion.

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This is the insurer's first earnings update since Mike Wells took over as chief executive officer.

Said Mr Wells: "We have seen strong performances from each of our principal business units. In Asia, where we are focused on meeting the protection and savings needs of the growing middle classes through our high-quality agency force and productive bank partnerships, our life and asset management businesses delivered a combined IFRS operating profit of £632 million, up by 17 per cent and free surplus generation of £356 million, up 16 per cent. Life new business profit in the region was up 30 per cent to £664 million, reflecting a 31 per cent increase in APE sales."

He noted that at Eastspring, the insurer's Asia-based asset management business, external net inflows of £4.6 billion and positive market movements have driven total funds under management to a record level of £85.3 billion, 28 per cent higher than a year ago.

"In summary, the first half of the year has demonstrated the success of our disciplined execution of the group's strategy. We are capturing profitably the opportunities available to us in the growing markets of Asia, while in the US and the UK we are continuing to use our established market position, distribution strength and products that are valued by customers to deliver growth in IFRS operating profit and free surplus generation. In doing so, we are making progress towards our 2017 objectives," Mr Wells said.

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