Prudential business up despite retail slowdown

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the Pru’s Q1 results revealed that the group gained from a 90 per cent increase in UK new business profit to £91m, compared with £48m a year before.

According to Tidjane Thiam, group chief executive, this reflected strong contributions from bulk annuities, although the retail market for annuities was affected by more people deciding to stay in employment rather than retiring.

He said: “In the UK, new business profit was driven by three bulk annuity transactions, which more than offset a lower contribution from retail business, where overall sales levels continue to be affected primarily by retirement deferrals.”

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Analyst view

Blair Stewart, Andrew Sinclair and Jelena Bjelanovic, analysts for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, claimed that Prudential was a “buy” and a “rare defensive growth stock”. In a seven-page note, they said the company’s strong growth in Asia and its resilience in the US and the UK meant the share price could rise further because of the stock’s “above-average returns and higher growth prospects”.