Prudential sets a course to double Asian profits

Prudential unveiled plans to boost growth and profits in its Asian markets yesterday, underscoring its belief in the region's potential following its abortive attempt to acquire AIA, the local arm of the American International Group (AIG), earlier this year.

Tidjane Thiam, the Pru's chief executive, said the insurer was looking to double by 2013 the £713m of new business profits it made in Asia last year. Over the same period, Prudential also wants to double its pre-tax operating profits from Asian life and asset management, which stood at £413m last year.

The push comes just months after shareholders balked at the cost of Prudential's $35.5bn bid for AIA, a failure that prompted some investors to call for the departure of Mr Thiam and the Pru's chairman, Harvey McGrath.

The ambitions were outlined ahead of an investor conference in London yesterday. "The objectives for Asia reflect our belief that Asia will continue to offer the highest growth and higher return opportunities for a generation or more," Mr Thiam said. "Market conditions in Asia continue to be positive, with Asian economies performing strongly in spite of a challenging global environment."

The insurer also laid out new objectives for improving cash generation across the group. The statement was well received by the market, with Prudential's shares rising 5.5 per cent to close at 599p last night.

"This is a very positive statement and I think Prudential can deliver," said Eamonn Flanagan, an analyst at Shore Capital. "They were convincing and I think this should put an end to talk about the chief executive officer or chairman quitting."

Analysts at Merrill Lynch were also upbeat, characterising the targets as "good news".

Barrie Cornes, at Panmure Gordon, said that while the new objectives were ambitious, the company had a "habit of delivering on its previous targets".

"We view these targets as stretching but achievable and we feel confident that they would not have been released unless management were fairly confident that they are are achievable," Mr Cornes said. He highlighted the fact that the previous objective of doubling Asian new business profits between 2005 and 2005 "was successfully delivered".

Walking away from the AIA deal left Prudential with a pre-tax bill of £377m, which was made up of a termination break fee of £153m, underwriting fees of £58m, adviser fees of £66m and foreign exchange hedging costs of £100m. The overall post-tax hit was £284m.

The failure prompted criticism from investors, with one shareholder, Anthony Watts, describing the whole affair "as a shambles from start to finish" and "a disgrace". "You failed to do your job properly, all of you. All of you are responsible for this failed deal," he told directors at the insurer's annual meeting back in June.

AIA went on to list independently at the end of October, with its shares attracting strong support and surging by 17 per cent on their debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering