PRUDENTIAL HAS restated that it is open to offers for its stake in Egg, the internet bank, after the company reported a fall in profits at the lower end of market predictions.
The FT says the insurer believes there are a number of potential bidders for Egg. Pru hopes a deal might boost investors confidence, which suffered this morning after the company announced operating profit dropped to £794m last year compared to £1.13bn in 2002.
Shares fell 3.7% to 491.5p this morning.
Pru's 79% stake in the internet bank, which coluld be worth up to £1.6bn, has been on offer since the beginning of the year.
Jonathan Bloomer, Pru's chief executive, said: "[We have] begun a process that will give a number of potential purchasers an opportunity to make a proposal [for Egg]."
PRU also tries to spread the blame for its falling profits on a number of factors, including stock market instability, political risk and economic uncertainty, reports the Times.
Jonathan Bloomer, the Prudential chief executive, said the 27% slide in annual profits could be linked to a "difficult year" for insurers, felt in particular by UK operations.
"The UK remains the toughest market in which we operate," he said.
"Uncertain equity markets, low interest rates and the continuing Government and regulatory reviews on the future of the industry have caused consumer appetite for long-term savings to remain weak."
IN LONDON, the Tories will today fight for 60,000 workers who have lost their pensions as they examine the government's Pensions Bill published two weeks ago, reports the Daily Telegraph.
David Willetts, shadow work and pensions secretary, will table a Commons motion calling for the government to outline plans to compensate employees who lost their pensions when their companies went bust.
Willetts is quoted by the party as saying: "Ministers describe the projected start date of early 2005 for the pensions protection fund as 'very challenging' but 60,000 people have already lost part or all of their pensions."IFAonline
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