Asia powers Pru but M&G flows reduce

PENSIONS group Prudential said surging growth in its US and Asian businesses this year raised its profits, but fund flows fell in its M&G investment arm as investors took fright over the Eurozone crisis.

Prudential’s sales were £2.7bn in the nine months to September, 10 per cent higher than in the same period in 2010, while its new business profits rose 14 per cent to £1.5bn.

Record sales in Asia created almost half its income, with £719m new business profits, up 16 per cent from 2010. Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore were bright spots.

Chief executive Tidjane Thiam shrugged off concerns over the Eurozone. “As a company we are not focused on Eurozone; we have no exposure to Greece,” he told reporters.

“Our main strategy focus is on Asia, we are growing at 15-20 per cent per annum in Asia so the business doubles in size every 3-5 years.”

But UK profits were just one per cent higher this year, at £194m.

Thiam said the UK was still critical.

“I can’t emphasise enough how important the UK is for the group. It is not for cash, it is for capital,” he said, adding that UK cash was no longer the driver for its Asian expansion.

“What we need the UK for is our balance sheet, we have a huge capital surplus in the UK which supports our balance sheet and our borrowing.”

M&G saw inflows shrink to £2.6bn this year, with £288m of outflows in the third quarter, over Eurozone fears