Old Mutual operating profit rises on robust cash flows

LONDON Wed Aug 7, 2013 2:26am EDT

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LONDON Aug 7 (Reuters) - Insurer Old Mutual PLC weathered unpredictable economic conditions for its emerging market businesses to post 14 percent growth in operating profit.

In an earnings statement for the first half of 2013, Old Mutual reported operating profit of 801 million pounds, firmly within the range of market forecasts between 757 million pounds and 881 million pounds.

Group Chief Executive Julian Roberts highlighted strong performances from its emerging markets businesses and U.S. Asset Management.

The group said expectations that the U.S. will bring quantitative easing to an end as the economy recovers has impacted its home South African market, contributing to a 16 percent drop in the rand against the dollar.

This has resulted in "a challenging economic environment" for Old Mutual's South African retail customers, Roberts said, also noting other African markets continue to grow strongly while conditions in the UK and U.S. are improving.

The group reported net client cash flow of 9.1 billion pounds, 160 percent ahead of a year earlier, beating market forecasts.

Funds under management were 289.3 billion pounds and Old Mutual said it will pay an interim dividend of 2.1 pence, up by a fifth.

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