Prudential Shares Fall as Jackson Demerger Shifts to Second Half

Reuters (05/13/21)

Shares in Prudential Financial, Inc. (PRU) fell 5% on Thursday as the life insurer said the spin-off of its U.S. business would not take place until the second half. Analysts were expecting the demerger, announced last year following pressure from investor Third Point, to take place this month. Prudential had previously said the demerger would take place in the second quarter. The company said that while regulatory approvals for the demerger had been received from Michigan and New York, “regulatory engagement” was continuing so detail on Jackson’s first-quarter performance could be included. “The U.S. demerger will complete Prudential’s structural transformation into a business solely focused on the growth opportunities of Asia and Africa,” chief executive Mike Wells said in a trading statement ahead of the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday. Prudential’s shares were down 5.4% at 0930 GMT, one of the worst performers in the FTSE 100. Jefferies analysts described the demerger delay as “disappointing”, while retaining their “buy” rating on the stock. Wells said that while vaccination roll-outs should bring “a gradual return to more normal economic patterns”, uncertainty remained over the speed of roll-outs and their success. Prudential reiterated that it planned a $2.5-3 billion equity raising once the demerger is completed, likely to be through a global offering to institutional investors and a public sale in Hong Kong to retail investors.

Read the article