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TOP NEWS: Prudential earnings rise in 2023 as policy sales rebound

20th Mar 2024 07:20

(Alliance News) - Prudential PLC on Wednesday credited strong growth in new business profit to a "relentless focus on execution" in Asia and Africa over 2023.

The London-based insurer said annual premium equivalents sales - a measure of the new policies sold - rose 34% to USD5.88 billion from USD4.39 billion in 2022, in line with company-compiled market consensus estimates.

In Hong Kong, APE sales surged to USD1.97 billion from just USD522 million, which Pru said was due to the removal of all pandemic-related restrictions, in particular the reopening of the land border between the financial hub and mainland China.

New business profit jumped 43% to USD3.13 billion from USD2.18 billion - ahead of USD2.94 billion consensus, while adjusted operating profit rose to USD2.89 billion from USD2.72 billion - a slight beat compared to consensus of USD2.88 billion.

New business profit was led by Hong Hong, which accounts for 45%. Pru said it grew in 17 of its 22 markets, and by double digits in 12 of these.

"We see an opportunity for sustained growth in Hong Kong as the drivers of demand from domestic and Chinese Mainland visitors remain intact," Prudential noted.

Prudential said the performance reflected the "breadth and broad-based nature" of its markets. It also reported increased market share in seven of its Asian life markets.

On an IFRS basis, total insurance revenue in 2023 climbed 9.6% to USD9.37 billion from USD8.55 billion in 2022. Pru swung to a pretax profit attributable to shareholders' returns of USD2.10 billion from a loss of USD643 million.

"We delivered an excellent financial and operational performance in 2023 and deployed increased levels of capital in new business, enhancing core capabilities and expanding distribution. Sales growth has continued in the first two months of 2024," said Chief Executive Officer Anil Wadhwani, who joined Prudential in February 2023.

Wadhwani added that the company is "increasingly confident" of achieving its 2027 financial and strategic objectives. These include a target of growing new business profit at a 15% to 20% compound annual growth rate between 2022 and 2027.

Prudential announced a second dividend of 14.21 cents, bringing its annual total payout to 20.47 cents, an increase of 9.0% from 18.78 cents in 2022.

The company has undergone a series of changes in recent years, including the spin-off of M&G PLC in the UK in 2019 and the demerger of Jackson Life in the US in 2022. It means Pru is now focused on Asian and African markets.

Shares in Prudential were up 3.1% to HKD78.85 in Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of the London market open.

By Elizabeth Winter, Alliance News senior correspondent

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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