LONDON, March 26 British life insurer Resolution
raised its 2012 dividend despite reporting a weaker than
expected profit due to a downturn at its international division.
Resolution, owner of pensions and investment firm Friends
Life, made an operating profit of 274 million pounds ($416.02
million) last year, down from 681 million in 2011, and below the
321 million expected by analysts in a company poll.
The decline reflected a boost from accounting adjustments
and outsourcing benefits in 2011 that did not recur last year.
Resolution was also hit in 2012 by a weaker performance from
its international division, which sank to a 9 million pound
operating loss from a 78 million pound profit the previous year
due partly to the rising cost of minimum guaranteed returns on
savings products sold in Germany.
Resolution still raised its total dividend 6.2 percent to
21.14 pence per share. Insurer dividends have been in focus
since British rivals Aviva and RSA reduced their
Resolution shares were up 1.6 percent by 1110 GMT. The stock
has risen 9 percent this year, outpacing a 1 percent gain for
the wider European insurance sector.
Resolution was set up in 2008 by insurance entrepreneur
Clive Cowdery to buy, merge and sell underperforming life
insurers, but it failed to complete as many deals as hoped
because falling share prices deterred owners from selling.
The company, which spent 4.7 billion pounds on three
takeover deals, called a halt to acquisitions in August last
year and said it would instead try to make money for its
investors by wringing savings out of its existing assets.