Why Legal & General Is Up 31% This Year


LONDON -- Legal & General (ISE: LGEN.L) has advanced 31% to 134 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100 (UKX).

The group, which provides a variety of savings and investment management products, seems to have impressed investors with a series of resilient statements.

During February, Legal & General announced 2011 results that showed profits improve 5% to 1,056 million pounds, with worldwide sales up 7% to 1.9 billion pounds and a full-year dividend up 35% to 6.40 pence per share. The firm said all of its business divisions had delivered increased sales, cash generation, and profits.

During May, Legal & General's first-quarter statement revealed total investment management funds had advanced 3% to 383 billion pounds, and cash generation had been stable at 210 million pounds. The update also noted the switch to auto-enrollment of pensions was beginning to have a positive impact, with 415,000 potential members recruited during the quarter.

Then in August, Legal & General disclosed half-year results that showed profits rising by 25 million pounds to 518 million pounds, and an interim dividend up 18% to 1.96 pence per share. Nigel Wilson, group chief executive, said:

Our financial and strategic discipline creates confidence in complex and chaotic markets. In spite of economic conditions, we continue to grow. LGIM achieved strong net flows of [4 billion pounds], UK protection gross premiums grew by 9% to [672 million pounds], and we also achieved 13% growth in US gross premiums to $456 million... Our balance sheet strength and robust financial discipline provides Legal & General with options to accelerate our evolution, delivering further value for customers and shareholders.

Legal & General's next trading update will be published on November 1st, which may reveal further encouraging news that can impress investors.

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Barry does not own any share mentioned in this article.

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