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Asia boosts Prudential profit, demerger of British business making progress

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Prudential's Asian business saw a 14 per cent rise in operating profit while M&G Prudential's profit rose 19 per cent, with its British pensions business helped by a slowdown in life improvement expectations.

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BRITAIN'S biggest insurer, Prudential, reported an above-forecast 6 per cent rise in 2018 operating profit to £4.8 billion (S$8.57 billion) on Wednesday after a strong performance from its Asian business.

The life insurer, which has large operations in Asia and the United States as well as Britain, was forecast to show operating profit of £4.6 billion, according to a company-compiled forecast of analyst expectations.

Prudential said it was making "continued progress" in separating its British business, M&G Prudential, through a stock market listing, which market sources expect before the end of the year.

"Given the extent of our opportunities and our proven ability to execute and innovate, we are well positioned to continue to grow profitably," chief executive Mike Wells said in a statement.

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The firm's Asian business saw a 14 per cent rise in operating profit while M&G Prudential's profit rose 19 per cent, with its British pensions business helped by a slowdown in life improvement expectations.

But the US business, Jackson, lagged, with profit down 11 per cent due to accounting measures related to lower US stock markets.

M&G Prudential saw net asset management outflows of £9.9 billion from external clients, including the expected redemption of a £6.5 billion institutional mandate.

Prudential's shares were trading at £15.40 at 0904 GMT, up 0.6 per cent, slightly outperforming the FTSE 100 index .

Prudential said it would pay a total dividend of 49.35 pence per share, up 5 per cent but below a forecast 50.36 pence. REUTERS

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