LONDON British insurer Prudential reported a record 2016 operating profit of 4.3 billion pounds ($5.16 billion) on Tuesday, as growth in its Asia and U.S. operations outweighed a decline in its domestic market.
Operating profit rose 7 percent from a year earlier and was above analysts' expectations of 4.1 billion pounds, according to a company-compiled poll, lifting its share price by more than 3 percent.
Prudential, which has large operations in Britain, the United States and Asia, has been focusing on expanding its Asian business.
The company increased operating profit in Asia by 15 percent to 1.6 billion pounds, while its U.S. business, Jackson, recorded a 7 percent rise to 2 billion pounds.
"Our results continue to benefit from the scale and diversity of the group's global platform, the disciplined execution of our strategy and the strength of the opportunities in our target markets," Chief Executive Mike Wells said in a trading statement.
However, operating profit at Prudential's UK business dived by 31 percent to 828 million pounds. The insurer took a 175 million pound charge for a review of past annuity sales practices and potential compensation after a regulatory review of the products.
The insurer, which is listed in London and Asia, said it would pay a second interim dividend of 30.57 pence per share and total dividend of 43.5 pence, up 12 percent from a year earlier and compared with a forecast 41.62 pence.
Prudential's shares were the top gainer on the FTSE 100 index with a 3 percent advance to 17.15 pounds by 0927 GMT.
(Editing by David Goodman)