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Insurer Phoenix sees upbeat performance on demand, rate hikes

Aug 15 (Reuters) - Phoenix Group PHNX.L on Monday forecast annual cash generation at the top end of its expectations, as robust demand in pension-related policies and higher interest rates helped the insurer post a modestly better-than-expected half-year profit. Insurers across the board have recovered ground since 2021 after being hit by tepid business and pandemic-induced market volatility. . Phoenix, which specialises in books of life insurance business, said it expects cash generation of 1.3 billion pounds ($1.57 billion) to 1.4 billion pounds for the year and raised its interim dividend by 3% to 24.8 pence per share. The company said it would assess if its business growth could fund a "further sustainable" dividend increase for the year. Earlier this month, Phoenix acquired closed life insurer Sun Life of Canada's UK unit for 248 million pounds in its first-ever cash funded acquisition, and said it had more than 1 billion pounds to spend on similar deals. The group on Monday reported operating profit of 507 million pounds for the six-month period ended June 30, ahead of company-compiled analyst expectations of 506 million pounds. Phoenix had posted a half-year operating profit of 527 million pounds a year ago. ($1 = 0.8259 pounds) (Reporting by Muhammed Husain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips) ((muhammed.husain@thomsonreuters.com)) The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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