Friends Provident has hit back at negative comments on its new business operations and strategy, saying they offer a "distorted view" of the company.
In a statement released to the stock exchange this morning, Friends Provident says it has an excellent new business track record and is bullish on future growth prospect.
The group was responding to market criticism including comments made by Pearl Group, a rival to the proposed Friends Provident merger with Resolution. It has been critical of both parties, saying the merger “significantly undervalues” Resolution.
The Hugh Osmond led company says the amalgamation would expose both firms to significant integration risks and the synergies promised may not being realised.
But the Friends Provident board has the view the combination will be beneficial to shareholders of both companies.
It says its UK life and pensions new business sales climbed at an annual rate of 26% between 2004 and 2006, while its market share increased 2% to 5.5%.
“The board also thinks it appropriate to reiterate previous statements about Friends Provident's sound financial position and, in particular, to confirm that the group does not need to issue new equity to fund its growth plans,” the statement reads.
Friends Provident group chief executive Philip Moore says the company has “good prospects for profitable growth”.
“Friends Provident brings a number of key strengths to Friends Financial - a strong UK life and pensions new business franchise, a rapidly growing international franchise and a leading position in group pensions,” he says.
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