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Standard Life beats profit forecasts

INSURER Standard Life saw its 2009 operating profit slip 1.5 per cent to £919m.

The result was well above forecasts thanks to a strong performance in Britain and Asia.

Standard Life aims to cut costs by £75m by the end of this year and has already achieved £47m of that by restructuring its customer services operation.

Meanwhile it announced that it wanted to cut a further £100m by 2012.

Analysts had pencilled a £668m profit for 2009.

The insurer, Britain's fifth largest by value, last month posted a better-than-expected sales slump of only seven per cent last year, as business picked up in the second half.

Chief executive David Nish said: "Standard Life starts 2010 in a good position. We will continue to drive shareholder value through being a customer-centric business, focused on long-term savings and investments propositions."