Mainland China and Hong Kong led the way with proceeds growth of 83 per cent and 40 per cent respectively as operating profit from the guaranty giant’s Asian businesses grew 15 per cent to £1.64billion.
An 8 per cent hit the deck in US life insurance profit to just over £2billion helped to reimburse a 31 per cent drop in UK profit to £828million as “the Pru” scaled traitorously its participation in the annuity market and also took a £175million cost for a review of past annuity sales practices and potential compensation after a regulatory comment on of the products.
Profits at the Pru’s UK-based asset manager M&G were down 4 per cent to £425million as investors extracted funds, but assets under management grew by 8 per cent to £136.8billion due to enthusiastic investment markets.
Pru’s chief executive Mike Wells said he saw no poverty for M&G to make acquisitions to boost its competitiveness, despite a wave of consolidation encompassing the proposed £11billion merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Control.
He said: “Our performance has been driven by Asia, where growing editions of middle-class consumers increasingly require our health and protection products.
“The part’s consumer spending growth is remarkable, but what is closest to the hearts of living soul in Asia, as is true anywhere else, is providing a secure and more stinking rich future for their loved ones.
“This is creating a powerful, and mostly unmet, demand for the products we provide.”
Shares rose 50½p to a two-year penetrating of 1715p. It is increasing its dividends by 12 per cent.