Monday, 25 June, 2018

Prudential FY17 Profit Up, Hikes Dividend; To Demerge M&G Prudential; Stock Up

Mike Wells Mike Wells
Orlando Vargas | 15 March, 2018, 06:30

Its remaining business will contain its faster growth USA and Asian operations.

John Foley, chief executive of M&G Prudential, added: "The demerger will allow M&G Prudential to play a broader leadership role in the fast-changing savings and investments market within the United Kingdom and Europe". The move is created to help Prudential focus on its lucrative Asian, US and African operations while giving M&G Prudential "more control" over its own business strategy and the way that it allocates capital.

Britain's leading Insurance group, Prudential, has announced plans to split its United Kingdom and European business from its global businesses to focus on lucrative Asian, US and African operations.

'One may assume the United Kingdom interests (M&G Prudential) will be less appealing to investors as the non-UK interests have experienced faster growth, ' says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Coinciding with the demerger announcement is news that Prudential is releasing £1.1bn of capital from reinsuring £12bn of United Kingdom annuity assets with Rothesay Life.

The timing of the demerger will depend on factors such as market conditions and the completion of the annuity sale, which should happen by the end of 2019.

"The move represents a welcome expansion of the United Kingdom listed asset management sector which in recent years has lost Henderson, which delisted on the London Stock Exchange following its merger with New York Stock Exchange listed Janus, and F&C following its acquisition by Canada's BMO, a subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal".

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The transition to a Part VII transfer will see all of the underlying assets and policy liabilities transferred to Rothesay Life, subject to regulatory and court approval.

Mike Wells, group chief executive of Prudential, says following separation, M&G Prudential will have more control over its business strategy and capital allocation. Proceeds will be used to support the group's demerger.

Additionally, Prudential disclosed its 2017 results, which showed operating profit increased 6 per cent year on year to £4.7 billion, on a constant exchange rate basis, above market expectations. New business profit increased by 12% to £3.6bn. The jump was particularly driven by a 20 per cent rise in operating profits at its Asian division, to just under £2bn.

Outside of the blue chips, shares in funeral services provider Dignity DTY.L surged more than 15 percent, putting the stock on track for its biggest one-day gain since listing in 2004 after reporting full-year results.

M&G Prudential achieved record levels of external asset management net inflows of £17.3bn, contributing to total assets under management of £351bn, up from £311bn the previous year. The US business saw profit grow by 9 per cent to £2.2bn.

The reinsurance arrangement with Rothesay Life will help Prudential to separate out legacy annuity business, so de-risking and preparing its two new separated operating entities for further growth.

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