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Prudential to Finance New Housing as Insurers Boost Investment

By Sarah Jones

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Prudential Plc is planning to finance the construction of 1,000 homes in the U.K. as insurers including Legal & General Group Plc ramp up funding for government projects.

Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam has committed 156 million pounds ($258 million) in funds for 17 local housing associations in Wales, a spokesman in London for Britain’s biggest insurer by market value said today. The investment will release a further 120 million pounds in government grants.

L&G, the largest manager of U.K. pension assets, was last week granted planning permission to build 1,000 homes in Crowthorne, south-east England and today announced plans to invest another 60 million pounds into a regeneration project in Salford, north-west England.

Prudential and L&G are among six of the U.K.’s largest insurers to have pledged a combined 25 billion pounds as part of the government’s National Infrastructure Plan. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to update aging infrastructure amid projections that the U.K. will overtake Germany as the European Union’s most populous country by 2045.

Insurers are investing in infrastructure following an agreement by European politicians in Brussels last year that paved the way for new Solvency II regulations. The deal, which has helped to free up capital for the companies, followed 13 years of wrangling between the industry and regulators.

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported Prudential’s plans earlier.

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