Standard Life post better-than-expected profit; shares jump

Standard Life post better-than-expected profit; shares jump

Shares in Standard Life gained 0.9p or 0.4 per cent to 238.5p after the Edinburgh-based pensions & savings giant reported a better-than-expected increase in profit for the last year.

Standard Life said its pre-tax profit jumped 28 per cent to settle at £544 million in 2011, against expectation of £476 million.

The company's Canadian business reported a surge of £77 million in pre-tax profit to £187 million, but profit at UK arm slipped 6 per cent to £220 million.

The company has been pursuing efficiency savings program, which included cut in the number of employees and its pension scheme. Last year, the company slashed around jobs in the UK alone, dragging the number of employees from 6800 to 6200. The number of its global workforce slipped from 9500 to 9000 during the last year.

Chief Executive David Nish said annual results provided fresh proof that its heavy investment program started paying off. The company spent £137 million on its transformation & growth program on top of £149 million in the previous year.

However, Mr. Nish warned that the company expected a slightly slower start this year. Speaking on the topic, he said, "The outside world has its challenges. There has been an impact on consumer confidence. We expect a slightly slower start to 2012."

Standard Life confirmed a final dividend of 9.2p-a-share, which represents an increase of 6.2 per cent on last year. The dividend will be paid on 31st of May.

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