Prudential sees jump in profit

City A.M. Reporter
Britain's largest insurer Prudential reported a 17 per cent rise in third-quarter group sales, beating expectations and helped by a pick-up in demand from emerging markets such as Asia.

Prudential rivals such as Aviva, faced with slow-growing home markets, have been trying to expand business in Asia where insurance penetration remains low, with under four per cent of China's GDP going to insurance premiums, compared with more than 12 per cent in Britain.

Prudential reported group-wide sales of £809m in July-September based on Annual Premium Equivalent accounting standards. This compared with a consensus forecast of £773m and a restated £689m recorded a year earlier.

The company also reported £1.3bn in new business profit in January-September, up from £1.1bn a year earlier and in line with expectations for £1.3bn. It did not give a figure for the third quarter.

"We remain well positioned to deliver strong growth and generate strong returns," Prudential said in a statement posted on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Prudential was forced to pull out of a $35.5 billion (£22.2bn) bid for rival insurer AIA Group earlier this year after shareholders balked at the price tag and AIA's owner, American International Group, rejected a lower offer.

AIA made a public listing in Hong Kong last month, which values the company at $36.9bn.