Prudential plans to double sales in Asia

Marion Dakers
PRUDENTIAL boss Tidjane Thiam unveiled his strategy for expanding the company in Asia in the wake of the firm’s botched bid for AIA, sending shares up 5.6 per cent to 600p yesterday.

Thiam, who came under intense shareholder pressure to stand down following his £22.7bn bid for the Asian life insurer, told investors he aims to double Asian premiums by 2013, delivering £300m to group turnover.

He said a more diverse product mix coupled with better returns on investments and benefits of scale would contribute to the gains.

“Prudential aspires to be one of the winners in the post-financial crisis world, with all of our businesses performing strongly. Our strategy is sound and we continue to pursue it with the operating discipline that has delivered excellent results on all measures over a sustained period,” said Thiam.

Shore Capital analyst Eamonn Flanagan said the targets for growth and cash were ambitious. “We view these as challenging especially given the current economic climate, but they should demonstrate the virtue and scale of the group’s operations in Asia.”

Prudential reported £713m pre-tax profit in 2009 and a stronger-than-expected 17 per cent rise in quarterly sales in November, helped by growth in its Asian markets.