Old Mutual hikes dividend as profits and earnings rise

Caitlin Morrison
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England v Australia - Old Mutual Wealth Series
Old Mutual sponsors an autumn series of international test rugby matches (Source: Getty)

Profits at Old Mutual jumped 37 per cent in the first half, and the firm hiked its dividend by almost a third.

The figures

Pre-tax operating profit rose to £969m from £708m, while earnings per share went up 33 per cent to 10.6p from 8p.

The interim dividend has increased 32 per cent to 3.53p.

Shares in the company inched up by 0.66 per cent at the open.

Why it's interesting

Old Mutual said its main markets "remain subject to significant political and economic uncertainties but our businesses are well managed and resilient". Earlier this year, the insurance and investment firm's share price was hammered by the devaluation of the South African rand.

Meanwhile, the group said its management teams are preparing for the spin-off of Old Mutual Wealth, to be listed in London, and a South African holding company called Old Mutual Limited.

What Old Mutual said

"Pre-tax adjusted operating profits were up 37 per cent benefiting from sterling weakness in the half," said chief executive Bruce Hemphill.

"Old Mutual Wealth had a strong six months and Old Mutual Emerging Markets and Nedbank are trading resiliently given the continuing difficult macroeconomic conditions in South Africa.

"We are making excellent progress in delivering the managed separation of Old Mutual having materially reduced debt and largely disposed of our stake in OM Asset Management."

He added: "Our focus for the next phase of managed separation is first to finalise the appropriate standalone balance sheets for our two unlisted businesses and second, subject to the necessary approvals, deliver them to our shareholders at the earliest opportunity in 2018 after our 2017 full year results."

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