Standard Life Lifts Dividend to Offer 5% Yield

LONDON -- Standard Life (ISE: SL.L) rallied 16 pence, or 6%, to 272 pence during early London trade after the financial institution released its half-year results.

Standard Life said its assets under management had improved by 3% to 204 billion pounds during the first half, which in turn helped fee-based revenues advance by 1% to 620 million pounds and operating profits gain 15% to 302 million pounds.

Standard Life claimed the profit increase was helped by a "significant improvement" within the group's U.K. division, where profits came in at 141 million pounds.

Gross cash generation on a European embedded value basis was 29% higher at 402 million pounds, while the balance sheet sported a 7,802 million pounds, or 331 pence per share, net asset value on a similar embedded measure.

Standard Life also confirmed its exposure to debt issued by governments and banks in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain equated to less than 50 million pounds.

The half-year dividend was lifted by 6.5% to 4.9 pence per share.

Standard Life Chief Executive David Nish said:

These results show that Standard Life is performing well. We have delivered increased profits, cash flow and dividends and we are achieving ongoing improvements in operational and financial performance. The U.K. results, where profits benefited from higher income and significantly lower costs, demonstrate the strength and scalability of our propositions and our brand.

The industry is undergoing a period of significant change, and we believe that this brings opportunity. We are well prepared for the regulatory and market changes on the horizon and have invested to make sure we are even better placed to meet the needs of our customers and their advisers.

The market environment is challenging and those conditions look set to continue. However, our business model, leading market positions, and strong balance sheet will allow us to continue to deliver ongoing improvements in value for customers and shareholders.

Right now, Standard Life is just one of a number of FTSE large caps that offers a dividend income well ahead of what you can expect to receive from a standard savings account.

Indeed, with the shares at 272 pence, Standard Life's trailing 14.1 pence per share 12-month dividend supports a 5.5% yield.

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