Prudential shares rise on Chinese takeover report

PRUDENTIAL’S shares soared three per cent to 618p yesterday amid suggestions of a bid for the FTSE 100 insurer from a Chinese consortium.

Traders piled into Prudential stock after a report said investors, including Go Guangchang, chairman of China’s Fosun International and former Goldman Sachs boss Fred Hu, were at the early stages of putting together a takeover approach. Their plan would be to keep Prudential’s flagship Asian business and offload the UK to a buyer such as Resolution founder Clive Cowdery.

But Barrie Cornes, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “It’s unlikely in the short-to-medium term that there would be a break-up of the Pru. It’s more likely these investors would be looking to take a stake if they think the shares are cheap.”

Another analyst said the news may have been leaked in an attempt to drive down the flotation price of AIA, which several Far Eastern funds are understood to be keen to support as cornerstone investors.

Separately, a source said AIA’s initial public offering could be priced as low as to value the company at $27bn (£18bn), significantly below Prudential’s second offer of $30bn.