Prudential Plc said on Thursday that its total sales went up 13 per cent in the first three months of 2008, compared with the same period last year. The insurers' total sales reached £729 million in the first quarter.

The company's biggest growth was in Asia where sales went up 30 per cent to £375 million. UK growth was small going up by 4.0 per cent to £189 million. The group said that its US sales fell by 7.0 per cent to £165 million.

Mark Tucker, chief executive of Prudential, said, The Group has made a very positive start to the year with overall Group new business up 13 per cent. This continues our strong momentum despite an environment characterised by high levels of uncertainty and volatility. This performance confirms the resilience that we derive from our geographic spread across three regions, and particularly the role of Asia as our leading source of new business.

Asia's excellent new business growth momentum continues apace. In the US, although difficult market conditions are affecting sales of certain types of retirement products, we remain confident that we shall continue to out-perform the market over the longer-term. UK growth of four per cent is particularly pleasing as we have maintained our value driven focus on writing only the business that meets our profitability criteria.

Tucker added, The current economic environment is challenging but I am confident that our geographic diversity, advantaged distribution, product expertise and management capability position us well for future growth. Our prospects for 2008 remain positive.