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Hopes for dividend hike at Prudential may be misplaced

PRUDENTIAL chief executive Mark Tucker will try to quit the insurer on a high by boosting its dividend when it reports interim results this Thursday. <br /><br />Analysts at Deutsche Bank have fuelled hopes the group will boost the payout from 6p to 6.3p a share, as popular leader Tucker prepares to hand over to current finance director Tidjane Thiam in September on a positive note. <br /><br />However, analysts at ING have warned markets not to bank on a dividend boost, saying Prudential&rsquo;s dividend may actually be cut amid a lack of available cash at the firm. <br /><br />ING&rsquo;s Kevin Ryan said the Pru is one of the best-capitalised insurers in Europe but it does not generate enough cash to ensure the money for the dividend will be available.<br /><br />He said any signs of weakness at the firm&rsquo;s US arm in particular could force Tucker to disappoint markets with a dividend cut. &ldquo;Any hint that the US business will not be able to remit its usual cash dividend to the centre would leave the dividend vulnerable,&rdquo; he said in a research note.