Higher-Margin Products Boost Standard Life Profit Sharply

British insurer Standard Life beat forecasts on Tuesday with a 71% rise in first-half operating profit, boosted by growth in its key domestic market and increased sales of higher margin products.

Standard Life, which scrapped its mutual status and listed last year, said its operating profit before tax, on a European embedded value (EEV) basis, was 353 million pounds.

A poll of nine analysts by Reuters last week had produced an average forecast of 318 million pounds, while the company had provided a consensus forecast of 327 million pounds.

Standard Life said new business contribution for the first half was 151 mllion pounds, up 66 percent, with group margins -- which it had already signaled would be above 2006's 1.4% -- at 1.8%.