Asia proves dominant for the Pru

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Prudential revealed more eastern promise yesterday as the insurer’s Asian arm continued to outperform the UK market in the first half of the year.

The group, which was founded in London in 1848, said Asian profits rose 21 per cent to £443m, driven by the appetite of the middle classes for life insurance and other savings and protection products.

In the UK, profits were flat at £552m as the tough economic climate weighs on the business – although some analysts said zero growth was stronger than it sounded.

Richard Hunter, the head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said that there was “little not to like” in the figures and added that the UK figures were “something of an achievement given the circumstan- ces”.

Prudential reported a 13 per cent rise in overall group operating profits to £1.2bn.

The group has enjoyed strong growth in seven south-east Asian markets, which it describes as its “sweet spot” covering a population of 500 million.