Clive Cowdery's insurance investment vehicle Resolution is expected to soon unveil plans for a further acquisition in the UK life space after Friends Provident reported a 13% drop in 2009 sales.
Friends, Resolution's first purchase for £1.8bn last year, announced sales in 2009 were £873m compared to £1bn in 2008, measured on an APE basis.
Sales in the fourth quarter amounted to £368m compared to £305m for the same quarter of 2008, up 21%.
Group pensions sales fell 26% to £310m over 2009, down from £423m the previous year.
"This was a strong performance against the backdrop of a year of economic troubles and volatile financial markets," Friends CEO Trevor Matthews says, adding the company is "on track" to deliver its corporate platform this year.
"We have good prospects overseas and we believe despite the tough conditions in the UK the work we have done to reshape our business and preserve our financial strength gives us a solid base on which to build in 2010."
UK corporate sales mainly relate to pensions business, which was £91m in Q4, up £12m on Q3 but down £12m compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. The insurer says its share of the group pensions market stood at 8.8% for Q3 2009 compared to 6.7% for Q3 2008.
Friends says its new protection business partnerships with Tesco Bank and Virgin Money are now on stream following successful implementation.
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