Prudential PLC 1H Oper Pft GBP2.06B

By Ian Walker

LONDON–Prudential PLC (PRU.LN) Wednesday reported a 9.5% rise in first-half operating profit, beating market expectations, and said it remains on track to achieve 2017 financial objectives.

The 168-year old international financial-services group said double-digit growth in its Asia business contributed to its improved results, helping offset the impact of turbulent markets in the U.S. and the U.K.

Operating profit rose to GBP2.06 billion ($2.69 billion) in the six months to end-June from GBP1.88 billion in the same period a year earlier. First-half profit was better than the consensus analysts’ forecast supplied by the company of GBP1.88 billion.

Asia operating profit rose 15% to GBP743 million, while U.S. profit fell 3% to GBP876 million. In the U.K., operating profit rose 9% to GBP492 million though at asset-management unit M&G, profit fell 10% to GBP225 million, reflecting the impact of recent asset outflows from retail funds on overall funds under management.

Prudential’s Solvency II capital surplus–a measure of financial stability–fell to GBP9.1 billion, from GBP9.7 billion.

The board has declared an interim dividend of 12.93 pence, up from 12.31 pence a year earlier.

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