CGNU, the UK's largest insurer, on Wednesday said it planned to cut its full-year dividend payment i...
CGNU, the UK's largest insurer, on Wednesday said it planned to cut its full-year dividend payment in 2002 and rename itself Aviva, to reflect its international presence as it reported a 41 per cent rise in operating profits to £2bn ($2.8bn), in line with expectations, reports the FT.
Life and pension sales increased by 21 per cent to £13.5bn, whilst retail investments were lower at £1.5bn compared with £2.5bn in 2000 partly because of sliding stock markets.
Total life achieved operating profit increased by 5 per cent to £1.67bn from £1.56bn in 2000.
In the UK CGNU said that sales had grown by 8 per cent to £8.1bn, helped by its multi-distribution capability including its bancassurance tie-up with Royal Bank of Scotland.
Further cost cuts seem likely at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein as the German investment bank considers integrating its debt and equity operations into a single business line, in the face of lacklustre market conditions, continues the FT.
The move is being billed as the next phase in a restructuring of the investment bank following Allianz's acquisition of Dresdner last year.
An internal memo to staff from Leonhard Fischer, head of corporate and investment banking at Allianz, says he is setting up a task force "to identify synergies" from integrating certain product areas.
Life insurance giant Prudential tumbled into the red last year after losing $532m (£365m) on investments including bonds from Argentina and the collapsed telecoms group Global Crossing, says a report in the Daily Telegraph.
The bond losses formed part of a £1.4 billion investment writedown, while the Pru wrote-off a further £482m for lowering its expected future returns and £95m for goodwill from acquisitions including fund manager M&G.
The result was a £455m pre-tax loss, struck after the Pru received a £338m break fee from its aborted £18 billion takeover of US life insurer American General. In 2000, the Pru made a pre-tax profit of £728m.
Chief executive Jonathan Bloomer said the Pru had abandoned attempts to make a major acquisition and would instead make a commitment to double the "intrinsic" value of the company in the next four years.
More than 100,000 Railtrack shareholders are to be forced to pay out £2 million in taxes on shares that were rendered worthless when Railtrack plc was forced into administration last year, says the Times.
It emerged yesterday that the Inland Revenue is chasing investors who accepted shares instead of cash when the company announced its dividend last May. Investors who took the share option received their allocation on October 3 last year - just 48 hours before the rail operator asked the Stock Exchange to suspend dealings in its shares.
An investor with 1,000 Railtrack shares must pay about £36 in tax.
Small companies will now be exempt from a European directive covering share prospectuses which critics had said could damage the AIM market. Yesterday the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee amended the directive to exempt from the rules any companies capitalised at less than €350 million (£214 million), adds the Times.
The directive would enable companies to issue shares and bonds on any market in the EU on the basis of a single prospectus. But lobby groups warned that it would increase costs of small firms, most of which look to list on specialist markets such as AIM or Germany's Neuer Markt.
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