The group made an EEV new business profit last year of £2.5bn, up 14% from 2011, with Asia contributing £1.3bn – an increase of 18% on 2011. Operating profit for the group was up 9% at £4.3bn, while Asia life insurance business operating profit was £1.9bn, up 11% on the previous year.
Indeed, Prudential’s Asian operations delivered strong numbers across the board. IFRS long-term operating profit increased by 30% to £920m, while net cash remittances increased by 66% to £341m – this made the Asia business unit, for the first time, the largest cash contributor within the group. Putting this into context just three years previously, in 2009, Asia’s net cash remittance was £40m – nearly nine times less.
Group chief executive Tidjane Thiam, who faced embarrassment in 2010 when shareholders rejected his very high profile and costly campaign to buy US insurer AIG’s Asian business unit AIA, was very keen to highlight the company’s success in Asia.
The AIA business was finally sold to ING Malaysia in December last year for $6.5bn.
Thiam said: “In 2012, we have exceeded two of our ‘Growth and Cash’ objectives for Asia. In 2012, I said we would more than double Asia’s 2009 IFRS operating profit from £465m to £930m by full year 2013. In fact we have delivered £988m in 2012. We have also exceeded Asia’s 2013 cash target of £300m.”
The company’s UK business also delivered decent results, with new business profit increasing 20% to £313m and IFRS long-term operating profit increasing 3% to £703m from £683m in 2011. However, it noted, as with many other life companies operating in the UK, that it expected sales to be negatively impacted by the Retail Distribution Review.