March 9, 2016 / 8:44 AM / 2 years ago

Prudential operating profit up 22 pct, pays special dividend

LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - Insurer Prudential posted an above-forecast annual pretax operating profit of 4 billion pounds ($5.68 billion) on Wednesday, boosted by strong performances at its British, U.S. and Asian life businesses.

The 22 percent rise compared with a consensus forecast of analysts for 3.8 billion pounds, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The firm saw a 60 percent rise in operating profit in its British life business to 1.2 billion pounds, helped by management actions to shore up its balance sheet under the new Solvency II capital regime, it said in a trading statement.

But M&G, Prudential’s UK fund management arm, saw a 7 percent drop in funds under management to 246 billion pounds.

Prudential, which was the first British insurer to announce a solvency capital ratio under new European rules for insurers, of 190 percent at end-June 2015, said its ratio at end-December was 193 percent.

A ratio of 100 percent shows insurers have sufficient capital to cover underwriting, investment and operational risks.

The firm said it would pay a total dividend of 38.78 pence per share, up five percent from 2014 though below a forecast of 39.69 pence. It also said it would pay a special dividend of 10 pence per share. ($1 = 0.7048 pounds) (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by Simon Jessop)

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