Prudential Asian sales growth helps 17 pct profit growth

LONDON, March 12 Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:33am EDT

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LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - British based insurer Prudential Plc has delivered a 17 percent rise in operating profits for 2013, brushing off financial volatility in Asia where its operations led sales growth.

In full year earnings on Wednesday, Prudential said IFRS operating profit was 2.95 billion pounds ($4.91 billion) in 2013, at the top end of analyst forecasts.

Sales increased 5 percent to 4.4 billion pounds, the company said, led mainly by double digit growth in its core Asian markets.

Tidjane Thiam, Group Chief Executive, said the group has achieved a series of growth targets set in 2010 and it will continue to focus efforts on harnessing opportunities presented by trends such as a growing Asian middle class.

"Our business, which used to rely on the UK for IFRS earnings and to fund all its cash needs, is now well diversified not only in terms of IFRS earnings but also in terms of cash," he said.

The group also announced a 15 percent increase in its full year dividend to 33.57 pence per share.

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