LONDON (Reuters) - Prudential (PRU.L), Britain’s No. 1 insurer, reported a better-than-expected 9 percent increase in its first quarter sales, with continued strong growth at its flagship Asian business offsetting a downturn in its home market.
Prudential, which generates half its sales in south-east Asia and wants more growth in the booming region, had total sales of 964 million pounds ($1.56 billion)in the three months to March, ahead of the 934 million penciled in by analysts in a company poll.
“We have made a strong start to 2012,” Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said in a statement on Wednesday.
“With our limited exposure to the countries of the eurozone, our leading presence in Asia, and our strong businesses in the United States and in the UK we are well positioned.”
Prudential’s first quarter new business profit - the present value of expected future earnings from sales achieved during the period - was 536 million pounds, up 8 percent compared with last year, and ahead of the 514 million expected by analysts.
Prudential’s London-traded shares were up 1 percent by 0832 GMT, outperforming a flat Stoxx 600 European share index .SXIP ($1 = 0.6196 British pounds)
Reporting by Myles Neligan; editing by Clara Ferreira-Marques