- Insurance group Prudential posted a 9% rise in first-half operating profit, underpinned by a strong performance in Asia, and said a planned de-merger of its M&G unit was progressing well.

Operating profit for the six months through June rose to £2.41bn, though the rise was limited to 2% on an actual exchange-rate basis.

The company declared an interim dividend of 15.67p per share, up 8% on-year.

'We have made a good start to 2018, delivering high-quality, profitable growth,' chief executive Mike Wells said.

'The group's performance has again been led by Asia.'

Statutory pre-tax profit, which included costs associated with asset sales, fell 6% to £1.70bn.

At 2:55pm: [LON:PRU] Prudential PLC share price was +42.25p at 1799.75p

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