Old Mutual Returns to Profit in a Year of Realignment

By Robert O'Connor
A.M. Best Company, Inc.

As it moved closer to the completion of its strategy of building a long-term savings, protection and investment group, Old Mutual plc reported a 2011 after-tax profit of 667 million pounds ($1.04 billion), compared with a loss of 282 million pounds in 2010.

Pretax operating profit rose 14% to 1.51 billion pounds from 1.33 billion pounds.

Adjusted operating earnings per share rose 13% to 15.7 pence (24.6 cents). Funds under management fell 5% to 267.2 billion pounds. Group return on equity was 14.6%, up from 14.2%. The ordinary dividend was increased by 25% to 5 pence.

Old Mutual, which is headquartered in London, said it had established a "positive foundation for growth."

During 2011, Old Mutual said it concluded the $350 million sale of its U.S. life insurance business, stopped taking new business in Switzerland, agreed to sell its Nordic operations to Skandia Liv for 2.1 billion pounds, announced that it would sell its Finnish wealth management business to OP-Pohjola Group and moved to consolidate the management of its European operations.

The company said it is continuing to look at a partial initial public offering of its U.S. asset management business as it seeks improvements in margins, investment performance and overall growth.

Old Mutual is two-thirds of the way through a three-year strategic plan that was unveiled in March 2010, said Chief Executive Julian Roberts. "We have either met, exceeded or are well on track to achieve these goals," he said in a statement.

Roberts described Old Mutual's spread of business as "attractive and resilient," with operations in South Africa, Europe and the United States, and in emerging markets.

"While there has been a significant amount of change over the past two years, we remain committed to building a long-term savings, protection and investment group and to drive and support Nedbank to become Africa's most admired bank," Roberts said.

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(By Robert O'Connor, London editor: [email protected])

Copyright: (c) 2012 A.M. Best Company, Inc.
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