Prudential unveils new Asia target

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Prudential has unveiled a new target to double new business profits from Asia by 2013

Insurance giant Prudential has underlined its potential in Asia by revealing a new target to double new business profits from the region by 2013.

The rapidly-expanding economies of South East Asia are ripe for growth as the penetration of insurance products remains low in comparison with developed countries.

In a presentation to investors in London, chief executive Tidjane Thiam set out his target to double the value of profits from Asian new business by 2013, compared with the £713 million achieved last year.

The Pru delivered on its previous objective to double Asia new business profits between 2005 and 2009 and said its new target was achievable given its proven strategy and the potential of its chosen markets.

Mr Thiam said: “The objectives for Asia reflect our belief that Asia will continue to offer the highest growth and highest return opportunities for a generation or more.

“Market conditions in Asia continue to be positive, with Asian economies performing strongly in spite of a challenging global environment.”

Shares rallied 4% as Wednesday’s briefing signalled another step in the company’s effort to rebuild bridges with the City following its abortive bid to land the Asian arm of US giant AIG earlier this year.

Despite the failure of the bid, which came after major investors baulked at the 35.5 billion dollar (£22.6 billion) price and AIG refused to budge, Prudential has stuck to its strategy of organic growth in Asia.

It is more cautious over mature and debt-laden western economies where unemployment is high and progress is expected to be more sluggish. In the UK, the Pru has concentrated on driving profits through value rather than volume growth.

Panmure Gordon insurance analyst Barrie Cornes said Wednesday’s forecasts were demanding but that Prudential had a habit of delivering on its targets.

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