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Standard Life First-Half Pretax Profit Jumps on Inflows

Standard Life Plc, Scotland’s biggest insurer, said first-half pretax operating profit jumped 6 percent as third party net inflows surged.

Pretax profit increased to 304 million pounds ($472 million) from a year ago, the Edinburgh-based company said in a statement today. Third party net inflows at the investment unit surged to 7.1 billion pounds from 600 million pounds a year ago, while group assets under administration rose to 232.8 billion pounds from 218.1 billion pounds at the end of 2012.

“I’m very optimistic about the markets we operate in,” Chief Executive Officer David Nish said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Mark Barton today. “We’ve invested to give us the potential to grow as markets change.”

Standard Life Investments’ third-party assets under management jumped to 93.4 billion pounds from 83 billion pounds at the end of December, according to the statement. The interim dividend was raised by 6.5 percent to 5.22 pence a share.

European embedded value operating capital and cash generation was 231 million pounds in the first half, down from 279 million pounds a year ago, reflecting “a lower back book management contribution in the period,” the company said. Embedded value is a measure insurers use to estimate the value of future payments from policy holders.

The shares declined as much as 8.3 percent today, the biggest drop since March 2009. They were down 2.6 percent to 377.50 pence at the close in London, trimming gains so far this year to 14 percent.

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