Insurer Prudential said it had reduced the cost of its failed bid for AIG's Asian unit and confirmed it has no further appetite for M&A as it reported forecast-beating half-year profit.
The botched takeover will cost 377 million pounds ($591.4 million), down from an initial estimate of 450 million pounds, thanks to reduced fee payments to its advisors and lower foreign exchange hedging costs, Prudential said on Thursday.
Presenting its first set of results since the collapse of the AIA deal in May, Prudential -- Britain's biggest insurer -- also ruled out reviving its bid for Hong Kong-based AIA, and said it had no plans for any other big takeovers.
We are focused on an organic growth strategy. Large inorganic transactions are not on the agenda, Prudential Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam told reporters on a conference call, adding that the company had ruled out another approach for AIA.
Prudential was forced to pull its $35.5 billion bid for AIA, aimed at giving the British insurer a commanding presence in fast-growing Asia, after its shareholders balked at the price tag and AIG rejected a lower offer.
Thiam said shareholder pressure for his resignation and that of Prudential chairman Harvey McGrath in the wake of the bungled deal had largely subsided.
There's always a range of views, it's a diverse community. But overall I believe we have the support of the body of our shareholders and we can only operate on that basis, he said.
Prudential also said it had an IFRS operating profit of 968 million pounds for the first six months of 2010, up from 688 million a year earlier, and ahead of the 724 million pounds forecast by analysts, according to the company's calculation of consensus expectations.
Shares in the insurer were unchanged at 562.5 pence by 4:30 a.m. ET, outperforming both the FTSE 100 and the European insurance stocks index,which were respectively 0.1 percent and 0.7 percent lower.
These results are strong in terms of underlying progress. There are no announcements on any management changes, and this is likely to disappoint some, Redburn Partners analyst Lance Burbidge wrote in a note.
Prudential's improved performance was driven by its Asian and U.S. operations, which both saw profits rise 24 percent, outstripping an 11 percent increase in the UK.
Prudential is paying a half-year dividend of 6.61 pence per share, an increase of 5 percent.
(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)