PRUDENTIAL boss Tidjane Thiam was yesterday vindicated after his decision to bet the company on overseas expansion pushed the insurer’s share price to record highs.
Just three years ago Thiam’s job was on the line following a bungled £20bn bid for Asian rival AIA that left the company with a near-£400m bill.
But now the chief executive can claim to have transformed the 165-year-old business for good after unveiling another set of stellar results thanks to continued growth in Asia and growing demand from US baby boomers who are approaching retirement.
Referring to a “huge rebalancing” in the world economy, Thiam said Asian growth would add the equivalent of “six Germanys” to global GDP.
“This is an epochal transformation,” he added, insisting Prudential is in pole position to capitalise on a rapidly-expanding middle class who find they now need insurance.
Operating profit rose 22 per cent to £1.42bn for the first half of the year, while the company also hiked its dividend by 14 per cent.
But sales at the Prudential’s UK arm remained flat, and with four-fifths of sales now coming from outside Britain there is continued speculation that the company could break itself up. Yesterday Thiam insisted this is not on the cards, despite announcing plans to bring all of the Pru’s businesses under one holding company.