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Prudential to demerge US arm Jackson next year and focus on Asia and Africa

More job cuts are also on the cards though the firm said it would maintain its HQ in London

Prudential PLC -
To help fuel expansion in Asia/Africa, the Pru has cut its dividend to generate cash for development.

Prudential PLC (Lon:PRU) the blue-chip life and pensions group, has confirmed it will IPO its US arm Jackson Life in the first half of next year.

Initially, the Pru said, it will sell a minority stake but in time the group intends to divest the whole business.

Following the disposal, the FTSE 100-listed group said it will focus on Asia and Africa to maintain growth above 10% a year.

To help fuel expansion in Asia/Africa, Pru has cut its dividend to generate cash for development. More job cuts are also on the cards though Pru said it would maintain its HQ in London.

In its half-year results statement, the Pru said: “The Group is aiming to deliver a further annual cost reduction of around US$70 million by 2023 on top of the $180 million cost savings from 2021 previously announced as a result of the M&G demerger.”

An interim dividend of 5.37 cents per share has been declared, which is about a third of the expected full-year total of 16.10 cents per share.

Operating profits in the six months to end June, 2020, were US$2.5bn, down from US$2.81bn, while pre-tax profits fell 54% to US$534mln.

US sale expected

Prudential has been under pressure to divest itself of Jackson Life following last year's demerger of UK-based fund manager M&G.

In February, hedge fund Third Point called for the US and Asian business to be split up and for the Pru to decamp from the UK.

Third Point, which has US$14bn under management and is led by corporate activist Dan Loeb, suggested the Pru might save £200mln if it closed the London head office.

In March, the Pru confirmed it would attempt to sell Jackson Life.

Coronavirus affects first half 

Mike Wells. chief executive said the divestment of Jackson Life would mean: "Two separately listed companies with distinct investment propositions, which we believe would lead to improved strategic outcomes for both businesses.

"The group would have primary listings in both London and Hong Kong and secondary listings in Singapore and the US. Jackson is expected to be solely listed in the US."

Wells added that if the stock markets conditions don't allow an IPO, it will demerge Jackson to existing shareholders.

Adjusted profits in Asia rose 14%, with nine markets in the region seeing double-digit improvements.

Shareholder funds on an embedded basis dropped 11% to US$48.9bn.

Shares rose 3% to 1,270p.


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Quick facts: Prudential PLC

Price: 1108.5 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £28.92 billion

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