Belfast Telegraph

Prudential profits jump after strong sales in Asia

Insurer Prudential has seen profits jump by nearly a fifth after brushing aside "heightened" global economic uncertainty to deliver strong sales in Asia.

The FTSE 100 firm said new business profit rose 19% to £1.97 billion in the nine months to date, with sales in Asia climbing 16% over the period.

It said the strong new business trends seen in the first half of the year had carried through to the third quarter, driven largely by the Far East market with "selective participation" from the UK and America.

On UK performance, the firm said new business profit from retail sales rose 41% to £179 million over the nine-month period, with sales from customers taking up PruFund retail investment options climbing 65%.

Meanwhile M&G Investments, owned by the Pru, enjoyed a brighter third-quarter performance, as net outflows shrank to £1.1 billion from £2 billion in the second quarter.

" The group continues to benefit from the favourable structural opportunities in its key markets and its well-established leadership positions," the firm said.

"During the current period of heightened macro-economic and other external uncertainties, our performance is well supported by the diversification of our international operations, our focus on high-quality sources of income and our broad currency mix."

Shares were up more than 2% on the London Stock Exchange.

New business profits in Asia rose 34% to £1.3 billion over the period, but its US arm reported a 13% profits slip to £485 million.

It comes after M&G Investments said in October that it would resume trading in its property fund after suspending it in July due to market turmoil triggered by the Brexit vote.

M&G had followed Aviva Investors and Standard Life by enforcing a temporary suspension on its property portfolio on July 5 after witnessing high levels of uncertainty in the UK commercial property market following the EU referendum.

The asset manager's chief executive had also warned in August that it could shift funds to Dublin and Luxembourg if Britain loses single market access following the Brexit vote.

Shore Capital analyst Eamonn Flanagan said the firm had delivered "another good new business performance", with the highlight coming from the "strength of the outcome in Asia".