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UK's Prudential Says Insurance Sales Rise 15%

Britain's Prudential reported a 15 percent rise in nine-month insurance sales on Tuesday, at the high end of forecasts, as strong growth in Asia and the United States offset a shrinking
business at home.

Britain's second-largest life insurer, the first in the sector to report numbers for nine months, said sales at its UK, Asian and U.S. operations rose to 1.979 billion pounds.

The average expectation of 12 analyst estimates polled by the company was total nine-month sales of 1.95 billion pounds ($3.97 billion), with forecasts in a range of 1.93 billion to 1.99 billion pounds.

In the UK, where Prudential has restructured and pulled out of lower margin businesses, total sales fell 20 percent, while in the U.S. business, sales rose 20 percent.

Asia remained the engine of the group's growth, with sales up 48 percent in the nine months.

The figures are on an annual premium equivalent basis, an industry-wide benchmark used to smooth out big sales of single-premium policies which may distort the picture.

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