Prudential Plc's CEO Discusses 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Prudential plc (PUK)

2011 Earnings Call

March 13, 2012 8:30 am ET


Tidjane Thiam - Group Chief Executive and Executive Director

Nicolaos Andreas Nicandrou - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director

Unknown Executive -

Michael Andrews Wells - Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Chad Tendler -

John William Foley - Group Chief Risk Officer, Group Treasurer, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Capital

Rob Devey - Director and Chief Executive Officer of Prudential UK & Europe

Michael McLintock -


Raghu Hariharan - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Andrew Hughes - Exane BNP Paribas, Research Division

Jon Hocking - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

James Pearce - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Toby Langley - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Nick Holmes - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Andrew Crean - Autonomous Research LLP

Blair Stewart - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Unknown Analyst

William Elderkin - Societe Generale Cross Asset Research


Tidjane Thiam

All right, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to our full year results presentation. I hope that you had something to eat. I apologize, because I know it's a long day and you've heard you've already done another company's results, but we have, once again, a large number of slides, so I hope that you're sitting comfortably. We'll take them -- take you through them slowly between Nic and I, but it's going to take probably the better part of an hour. So we are going to present first, a highlight of our results for 2011. We will then give you an update on our progress towards our 2013 objectives that we've called growth in cash and talk about the performance in turn, of each our businesses, starting with Asia then Jackson, then the U.K. and M&G. And then I'll hand over to Nic, who will cover the financials in more detail before coming back to talk about the outlook. We will then, of course, take your questions, if you still have any energy left.

The executive team, and a number of key people from our operations across the world are here today and we all look forward to operative dialogue with you. So I'll begin with the headline numbers, which you've seen now, picking out a few. For the first time, we have delivered IFRS profit of over GBP 2 billion. We have EV operating profit of almost GBP 4 billion and EBIT per share now stands at 771p. And we have remitted over GBP 1 billion -- GBP 1,105,000,000 of net cash remittances from the businesses to a center, again, a first in our history.

And the full year dividend has been increased to 0.2519p per share, which is a 5.6% increase following the 20% uplift of last year. It's good to keep in mind that these results have been delivered in an environment that was not benign. We have seen in 2011, significant macroeconomic volatility. We have seen long-term interest rates falling to unprecedented levels, which, as you know, is a particular challenge for insurance companies and Nic will come back to that, and a turbulent year for equity markets. And it's a statistical quirk that the S&P finished, I believe at same level as it began at 1257, but between those 2 points, we saw huge volatility, particularly in the third quarter. So these are good results in a challenging environment.

There are 2 key milestones within the results that I would like to focus on now. One is with our IFRS profits and the other one, with cash. So let's start with IFRS. For the first time in our company's history, our Asian business is the largest contributor to our IFRS profits. This is an important factor in the valuation we make of our business when you focus on price on emitted -- multiples, and the objective we have of doubling the '09 profit by 2013 is, therefore, of strategic importance to us. By this metric, our profits in Asia have almost tripled in the last 3 years. And in 2011 alone, our profits increased by 30%. This growth is the result of a number of actions. Since '08, I have been very clear on our definition of success, putting more emphasis than previously on IFRS and cash, and we've been talking to you about every time EV IFRS on cash in the same breath. We also have taken a more strategic view of our earnings with the analysis of the source of earnings, breaking down into insurance, profits, risk profits, spread profits and fee profits and we've used that to drive the business. We have enhanced our disclosures in parallel and also ensured that the incentives for management teams were consistent with this definition of success. I've said our teams have risen to the challenge and delivered a clear step-up in the IFRS profitability of our business and taken a number of actions, for that variance, driven the transformation of our product mix, we've increased in health and protection, which is well known now, but these are risk earnings, they’re higher quality earnings and relatively insulated from financial market movements and give us resilience.

We have also had an increased focus on new business trend. And before we knew it, we started disclosing IFRS new business trend. We've managed it very proactively. We have driven our growth in policyholder liabilities and we have managed the reinforce book very rigorously to deliver expected profit and cash. You add to that operational leverage and you get this type of curve and all these actions are being implemented across the broad portfolio of our business, so this improvement is broad-based. And I can tell you in 2011, 10 of our 11 countries have seen their IF profits grow. From 9 of them, this involved double-digit growth, from 9 countries in Asia, a double-digit growth in IFRS profits, and 8 countries in Asia had growth in excess of 30%, which leads to this very strong performance. So GBP 784 million in 2011, Asia represents more IFRS profits than our group did as a whole, a few years ago. That is, for us, an important milestone with potentially positive applications -- implications on our valuation.

The second important milestone is really cash and about cash. It's about each of our 4 businesses now contributes material cash remittances to a center. Historically, we have been seen as having one source of cash, the U.K., people who are rude call it a cash cow, and one growth engine, Asia. Our 2011 results show that actually 4 of our businesses, all 4 of our businesses are now materially cash-generative, and I think that's really important. Asia, Jackson and M&G and also 3 of our businesses have significant growth potential, Asia and Jackson and M&G. So on this slide, you can see in blue, the cash remittances received from the U.K. Life and both in red are from all the other businesses. In '06, the blue bar is GBP 45 million. We've got GBP 45 million out of the U.K. after actually making an infusion in the first half. And in the last 3 years, the U.K. has contributed more than GBP 900 million of cash. So you can compare GBP 900 million versus an infusion in '06. It is a transformation. So this focus on cash has allowed us to do very well elsewhere too, G&L Asia and M&G here in red, GBP 800 million in 2011 of cash generation. So if you look at the total, together, in 2011, we have cash remittances above GBP 1 billion, up 18% in the year. And the other point I'd like to make here is that this growth has not been achieved -- sorry, this cash growth has not been achieved at the expense of business growth. That is a central point because we said you can always drive cash if you give up or if you tradeoff between growth and cash. But that is why we have called this strategy growth and cash, so very much inactive [ph] , but it's -- I think it describes very well what we have done, and I have a twist on it, because I say it's growth and cash, but it's cash from everybody, as all my colleagues here know. So it's a very fair policy.

So now let's take a closer look at our progress towards the growth and cash objectives of 2013. They really, for us, more than anything else, summarize what we manage to, what we drive the business to deliver and what we would like to be judged on, okay? So at the end of 2011, we are exactly halfway through our 4-year program, we said '10, '11, '12, '13. So what I'm trying to do here is to give you a halftime update on our progress towards the 6 objectives. And this is when the primarily technological advances, what I feared has happened, and the machine decided to go back to Page 1. So if you bear with me, I'm manually going to bring you back where it should be, and we'll continue. That was always a risk. Okay. Well I have a back-up plan.

[Technical Difficulty]

I want to give you a halftime update, and the update is relatively simple. At halftime we are on target or ahead of schedule for every one of the 6 objectives, so starting with the 3 Asian ones, which are NBP IFRS, and cash, as you know. For the first 2 IFRS and NBP which put here, we have achieved 69% of the target for IFRS and 51% of the target for new business profit. For cash, we have delivered GBP 206 million in 2011 and we are about 2/3 of the way of a target of GBP 300 million by 2013. In the U.S. and the U.K., we have, respectively, to deliver GBP 250 million, Jackson made a particularly large remittance in 2011 with GBP 322 million, which is technically ahead of the 2014 objective, but I'll come back to that later when I look at Jackson. And the U.K. has remitted GBP 297 million and achieved 85% of its 2014 objective. On a group level, we are aiming for GBP 3.8 billion of net remittances cumulatively over 2010, 2013. And at halfway, we are, at halftime, we are 54% of the way, so kind of on track. And to put this number in perspective, imperfected [ph] in the '06, '09 period, we generated GBP 2.5 billion, okay? So GBP 3.8 billion as an ambition is a step change compared to where we were able to produce historically. So this is sound progress, and our focus on capital allocation has played a key role in achieving these results.

Since 2008, we've been talking about a more rigorous and unbiased approach to capital allocation across the businesses, basing our decisions primarily on IRRs and payback periods. We have taken a number of actions which have significantly modified the shape and quantum of our investment in new business, if you look at the left side of this chart. We have reviewed in the U.K. our individual annuities pricing to optimize new business trend. We, of course, our equity release business in the U.K. We have become much more selective about writing both business in the U.K., which introduces a degree of volatility in our numbers but we're happy to live with that. In '09, we introduced a significantly higher IRR corridor, consistent with the IRRs we achieved organically in other businesses, so we won't [indiscernible] to compete with the American companies we have elsewhere to get capital. And we also insisted that both deals should be much less capital-consumptive in absolute terms. Which is why you will see that in some years we've had great volumes and in others not because if there are not such deals, we won’t write the business. So that's discipline. We are, of course, jump [ph] into new business. We have restructured successfully the business in Korea. We have reduced our gig volumes in the US, and in '11, you'll see here, we made further improvements to the DAs and when combined with initiative to save cost, this has further reduced our new business trend, which decreased from GBP 400 million to GBP 200 million whilst writing more business. So always a set of significant cumulative impact.

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