LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Insurer RSA posted a 25 percent rise in 2016 operating profit to an above-forecast 655 million pounds ($814.49 million) due to strong performance in most of its core businesses, and raised its target for return on equity.
Analysts in a company-supplied forecast had expected an operating profit of 626 million pounds.
RSA, which has been undergoing a restructuring programme under ex-RBS boss Stephen Hester, raised its target for return on tangible equity to 13-17 percent from a previous range of 12-15 percent, and said in a statement on Thursday it hoped to "perform in the upper part of this range".
RSA said its cost-reduction programme was ahead of original targets and it was upgrading that target for a third time to more than 400 million sterling of gross annualised savings by 2018, from a previous target of more than 350 million sterling.
The insurer said it would pay a final dividend of 11 pence per share and total dividend of 16 pence, up 52 percent from a year earlier and above a forecast 15.1 pence.
$1 = 0.8042 pounds Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by Simon Jessop