March 5, 2019 / 7:32 AM / 19 days ago

Phoenix Group's full-year profit jumps, readies for Brexit

March 5 (Reuters) - Phoenix Group Holdings, Europe’s largest owner of life assurance funds closed to new customers, reported higher full-year profit and targeted cash generation of 3.8 billion pounds from 2019 to 2023, as companies offload their pension risks.

The company, which makes money by buying European life insurance policies that are closed to new customers and running them more efficiently, said IFRS operating profit rose to 708 million pounds ($931.66 million) in year ended Dec. 31 from 368 million pounds a year earlier.

Phoenix, poised to enter London’s blue-chip index, also said its preparations for Britain’s exit from the European Union were complete, adding it would transfer assets to an Irish domiciled unit, in which it has injected 250 million pounds.

“Despite our expectation that market conditions will remain turbulent leading up to and beyond Brexit, we look ahead with optimism as Phoenix’s hedging programme brings resilience to the Group’s solvency position and cash generation,” the company said.

$1 = 0.7599 pounds Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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