How Resolution Has Fared During 2012

LONDON -- Resolution (ISE: RSL.L) has dropped 14% to 217 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of the year's worst performers in the FTSE 100 (UKX). During the same time, the blue-chip index has gained 4%.

The life group, which in the last few years has acquired Friends Provident, Axa UK Life and Bupa Health Assurance, doesn't seem to have impressed investors with its progress.

During March, Resolution's full-year results showed underlying UK operating profits before tax steady at 277 million pounds, although the group's dividend was lifted 10% to nearly 20 pence per share.

At the time, Mike Biggs, Resolution's chairman, said the company was "committed to returning surplus cash not required by the business to shareholders subject to market conditions and receiving the appropriate regulatory approvals."

However, during July, Resolution announced it had "determined that it would be inappropriate to make the [250 million pound] capital return originally targeted for the first half of 2012 and consequently announces its cancellation."

Mike Biggs then lamented:

"I understand that shareholders will be very disappointed that the Board has concluded not to return a second [250 million pounds] of capital but it would be inappropriate to do so against the backdrop of heightened investment, economic and regulatory uncertainty."

Then in August, Resolution's results showed half-year profits falling to 163 million pounds, although the interim payout was lifted 5% to 7.05 pence per share

No doubt Resolution's investors will be hoping for better share-price progress next year, helped perhaps by receiving that postponed 250 million-pound return of capital. For the moment, the trailing 20.49 pence per share dividend supports a 9.4% potential yield.

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Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article.

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