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Prudential posts 9 pct drop in sales

Source: Reuters - Wed 28th Oct 2009

Prudential, Britain's largest insurer, reported a better than expected 9 percent drop in third-quarter sales on Wednesday, as its core Asian region and the United States offset weakness at home.

Total group insurance sales fell to 700 million pounds in the three months to the end of September, which compared with a consensus forecast of 653 million pounds, according to 15 analysts polled by the company. Sales in Asia, excluding the impact of the Taiwan business sold earlier in the year, rose 4 percent in the quarter, while the U.S. business jumped 66 percent. UK sales fell 22 percent, hit by the absence of a large bulk annuity transaction which lifted numbers a year ago.

For the nine-month period, total group insurance sales fell 9 percent to 2.02 billion pounds.

"We believe that the economic environment will remain uncertain for a while. The group has clearly demonstrated its strong defensive capabilities and is now well positioned to benefit from the next stage of the economic cycle" the insurer's newly arrived chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, said.

Prudential said its insurance group directive (IGD) surplus stood at 2.8 billion pounds, helped by a rosier performance on equity markets.

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