Prudential Plc, the U.K.’s biggest insurer by market value, said full-year profit rose 7 percent as its Asian business became the largest contributor to earnings for the first time.
Operating profit rose to 2.07 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) in the 12 months to Dec. 31 from 1.94 billion pounds a year earlier, the London-based company said in a statement today.
That beat the 2.02 billion-pound median estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Prudential, which gets 45 percent of its revenue from Asia, last month threatened to relocate outside the U.K. should new European solvency rules force the insurer to hold more capital against its international operations. Once the firm achieves its profit and cash-generation targets scheduled for 2013, it may sell or spin off various units to boost the share price, Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam told investors in November.
“We regularly review the range of options available to us to maximise the strategic flexibility of the group,” Thiam, 49, said in the statement. “Among these options is consideration of optimizing the group’s domicile, including as a possible response to an adverse outcome on Solvency II.”
The firm raised its full-year dividend by 5.6 percent to 25.19 pence a share, beating the analysts’ estimate of 25.04 pence. Operating profit at the company’s Asian unit climbed 32 percent to 709 million pounds.
Prudential has climbed 1.1 percent in the last year, outperforming the FTSE ASX Life Insurance Index, which declined 1.3 percent. The stock rose 2.3 percent to 744.5 pence at 8:22 a.m. in London trading today.
Net income climbed 4 percent to 1.49 billion pounds for the year.
Prudential Plc has no relation to Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc.