Sunday 19 September 2021 11:24 am

Prudential turns gaze to Asia in fresh £2bn share sale

Insurer Prudential is planning to offer fresh shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange to raise £2bn as it continues to shift its focus away from the UK.

The proceeds will be used to pay off debt and capitalise on investment opportunities in Asia and Africa, the 173-year old insurer said. 

Prudential will offer nearly 140m of shares at a maximum price of HK$172, valuing the raising at around £2bn.

The offering is the latest move from FTSE 100 constituent Prudential to increase its presence in Asia and turn away from its British roots. 400 of Prudential’s 600 head office staff are now based in Hong Kong after it sold its fund management arm M&G.

Mark FitzPatrick, group chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Prudential, stressed Prudential would maintain a presence in London, despite intense pressure from Third Point, an activist investor headed by Daniel Loeb, to close its office in the capital. 

The insurer also released a trading update alongside the share offering announcement which showed new business sales are growing rapidly in China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Prudential first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1978. It was founded in 1848 in Hatton Gardens, London, but has been listed in both London and Hong Kong for 11 years.

It comes as some of the capital’s blue-chips are turning their gaze away from the city. Miner BHP Group, also a constituent of the FTSE 100 announced it will delist from the capital recently.

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