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British firm Prudential to split into two

AFP/File / LEON NEAL Prudential has assured investors they will hold interests in both firms (Prudential plc and M&G Prudential) after the de-merger

British financial services giant Prudential said Wednesday that it will split into two separate firms, in order to focus on strategic priorities in the various regions in which it operates.

The demerger will create M&G Prudential, a savings and investment provider for Britain and Europe, and Prudential plc, which will mostly focus on insurance in Asia, the United States and Africa, the company said in a statement.

No clear timetable was given for the move, which was revealed alongside the group's annual results.

"Prudential plc today announces its intention to demerge its UK & Europe business M&G Prudential from Prudential plc, resulting in two separately-listed companies with different investment characteristics and opportunities," it said in a statement.

"On completion of the demerger, shareholders will hold interests in both Prudential plc and M&G Prudential."

The two new groups will both be based in London, where they will have separate listings on the stock market.

"The decision to demerge M&G Prudential follows a rigorous review by the board which considered all options, including the status quo, and concluded that it is in the best interest of the group to operate as two separately-listed companies, able to focus on their distinct strategic priorities in their chosen geographies," Prudential chairman Paul Manduca said.

"Both are expected to meet the criteria for inclusion in the FTSE 100 index."

M&G Prudential, a leading retirement and savings business in Britain and Europe, will also sell £12.0 billion ($16.7 billion, 13.5 billion euros) of its shareholder annuity portfolio to Rothesay Life.

The proceeds from this transaction would be used to support the demerger process, it added.

"Following separation, M&G Prudential will have more control over its business strategy and capital allocation," said Prudential chief executive Mike Wells in the statement.

"This will enable it to play a greater role in developing the savings and retirement markets in the UK and Europe through two of the financial sector's most trusted brands, while Prudential plc will be able to focus on the attractive returns and growth potential of its market-leading businesses in Asia and the US."

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