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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.

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"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.

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