Dividend hike as Resolution looks at deals

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH insurance consolidator Resolution hiked its dividend more than expected, as it focuses more on squeezing cash from its businesses, and said it was still mulling deals outside the UK.

Resolution, created to buy underperforming British life insurers and merge them into a more profitable whole, yesterday raised its final payout for 2010 by 15 per cent to 12.57p per share, beating analyst expectations for an unchanged dividend.

The increase follows a doubling of Resolution’s shareholder cash to £1.07bn, helped by higher contributions from its businesses as well as a one-off capital transfer.

Resolution, founded in 2008 by Clive Cowdery, had a pre-tax operating profit for 2010 of £275m, up from £6m the previous year.

The increase reflected a full 12-month contribution from Friends Provident, which was acquired in late 2009, as well as four months of earnings from the Axa businesses.

Resolution said its research into potential takeovers had highlighted opportunities in asset management and in the US and European life insurance industries.