Prudential Profits Rise on Asian Growth

Prudential, the UK-based insurer and asset manager, reported a better-than-expected 25 percent rise in half-year profit to 1.06 billion pounds ($1.72 billion) Friday.

Profits were boosted by strong growth in Southe

ast Asian markets.

Prudential continued to grow its asset management business, which contributed £259 million, up 34 percent, to profits in the first half of 2011.

It hiked its half-year dividend 20 percent to 7.95 pence per share.

Positive growth continued in South-East Asia, particularly in the target countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, and more mature markets Hong Kong and Singapore. India was described as "challenging".

Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of the Pru, who faced criticism from investors after a failed $35.5 billion bid for AIA in Asia, said: “We have continued to concentrate on the fast-growing and highly profitable markets of South-East Asia, and the positive momentum of 2010 has been maintained during the first half of this year."

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