Legal & General profits boosted because the rise in life expectancy is slowing down

Caitlin Morrison
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New life expectancy forecasts have boosted L&G's profits (Source: Getty)

Legal & General today unveiled better-than-expected profits for 2017, and said its dividend would increase by seven per cent.

The figures

Operating profit rose 32 per cent to £2.1bn from £1.56bn in 2016, while pre-tax profit also increased by 32 per cent to hit £2.1bn, compared with £1.58bn in the previous year.

Earnings per share rose 50 per cent, at 31.87p compared with 21.22p the year before.

The group hiked its dividend by seven per cent to pay out 15.35p per share, up from 14.35p per share in 2016.

Shares were up 1.3 per cent in early trading.

Why it's interesting

The rise in L&G's profits was partly down to changes in life expectancy forecasts, which allowed for a release of £206m of prudence within the firm's reserves.

This helped the group withstand a 29 per cent reduction in profit from its general insurance business, which was blamed on higher than expected non-weather related household claims in the first quarter of last year.

What Legal & General said

"Legal & General's strategic focus, alignment to global growth drivers and excellent execution, allowed us to deliver a record £2.1bn operating profit in 2017. Our shareholders are enjoying terrific EPS and RoE growth, while our 'inclusive capitalism' model ensures customers and society also benefit," said Nigel Wilson, group chief executive.

"We remain confident that our unique business model, strong management team, collaborative culture, and strategic focus can deliver further growth in 2018 and beyond."

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