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Prudential's H1 results up on strong business growth in Asia

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British insurer Prudential on Thursday reported a 5 per cent rise in IFRS operating profit for the first half of 2017 to £2.4 billion (S$4.25 billion) on a constant exchange rate basis, lifted by strong growth in Asia.

BRITISH insurer Prudential on Thursday reported a 5 per cent rise in IFRS operating profit for the first half of 2017 to £2.4 billion (S$4.25 billion) on a constant exchange rate basis, lifted by strong growth in Asia.

Asia new business profit was up 18 per cent year on year to £1.1 billion, while IFRS operating profit grew 16 per cent to £953 million and free surplus generation was 15 per cent higher at £553 million.

The group's US life insurance IFRS operating profit rose 7 per cent to £1.1 billion from the year-ago period.

United Kingdom's life retail annual premium equivalent (APE) sales - a measure of new business activity - went up 22 per cent to £721 million, with PruFund sales up 29 per cent at £564 million.

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Profit attributable to equity holders came in at £1.5 billion, more than double the £687 million a year ago. This represents earnings per share of 58.7 pence, up from 26.9 pence a year ago.

The group said on its website that M&G's first-half external asset management net inflows were £7.2 billion.

It added that M&G and Prudential UK and Europe are to be combined to create a leading savings and investments provider.

The first interim dividend in 2017 of 14.50 pence per share was declared, up 12 per cent.

Group Solvency II surplus was estimated at £12.9 billion, equivalent to a ratio of 202 per cent.

Mike Wells, its group chief executive, said: "Our strategy is focused on markets where the need for our products is strong and growing, and our capabilities and execution ensure that we are successfully meeting that demand across our different regions.

"In Asia we offer innovative products that meet the savings, health and protection needs of the fast-growing middle class, in the US our variable annuities are focused on meeting consumers' needs as they move into retirement, and in the UK and Europe we are responding with agility to changing consumer preferences, meeting the rising demand for savings and retirement solutions."

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