Standard Life investors get £302m payday

SHAREHOLDERS in insurer Standard Life are in line for a £302m windfall, following a better-than-expected 65 per cent rise in operating profits last year.

The insurer will pay a special dividend of 12.8p, it said this morning. It also announced a dividend hike of 6.5 per cent, making a total dividend for the year of 14.7p.

Edinburgh-based Standard Life posted operating profit up 65 per cent to £900m, from £544m in 2011, driven by a “significant improvement” in UK performance and the continuing growth of its investment arm.

Operating profit at Standard Life's core British division rose 58 per cent.

“Standard Life has delivered a substantial increase in profitability and has a strong capital position supporting increased dividends for our shareholders,” chief executive David Nish said this morning.