Prudential beats forecasts on Asian growth

City A.M. Reporter
Prudential, Britain's biggest insurer, beat forecasts with a 24 per cent increase in its 2010 profit, helped by continued strong growth in Asia, and hiked its dividend by a fifth.

Prudential made an operating profit of £1.94bn last year, up from £1.564bn in 2009.

Analysts had expected a profit of £1.73bn, according to a consensus forecast calculated by the company.

Prudential has sworn off big acquisitions and set itself ambitious cash generation and profit targets in an effort to mend relations with investors, severely dented last year by a failed $35.5 billion bid for rival AIA.

The company was forced to pull the bid in June last year after shareholders baulked at the price, leaving it to shoulder £377m in costs, and prompting calls for chief executive Tidjane Thiam and chairman Harvey McGrath to quit.