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Friends Life reports increase in profits

Friends Life reported a pre-tax IFRS operating profit of £722m in 2011, up 149 per cent from £290m in 2010.

The provider’s annual results, published today, say the pre-tax operating profit benefited from the increased scale of the UK business, as well as “actions taken to release negative reserves”.

Resolution acquired Friends Provident in November 2009, Axa UK Life Business in September 2010, Bupa Health Assurance in January 2011 and Winterthur Life UK in November and rebranded the businesses under the Friends Life banner at the end of last year.

It disposed of the Guaranteed over Fifty and Trustee Investment Plan portfolios in November.

The directors are recommending an interim dividend of £250m for the year ending December 31, payable by March 31.

Chief executive officer Andy Briggs says: “Significant progress was made in 2011 to build Friends LIfe’s business and deliver on our cash and synergy targets. I have strengthened my management team and brought in valuable experienced professionals in the shape of Tim Tookey our new CFO, and Rosie Harris our new chief risk officer, to help take the company forward.

“Friends Life has a clear strategy to build a sustainable and profitable long-term business underpinned by rigorous financial disciplines, with a team to deliver. We will continue to make targeted investments in major initiatives that drive a significant improvement in business performance.”

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