Stan Life H1 profit +6% to £362m ahead of merger

Keith Skeoch, left, and Martin Gilbert, co-CEOs of Standard Life Aberdeen

Edinburgh-based investment and insurance group Standard Life said its first-half operating profit before tax rose 6% to £362 million and assets under administration rose 1% to £361.9 billion as it gets ready to complete its £11 billion merger with Aberdeen Asset Management next week.

The merger of the two Scottish investment giants will create the largest active fund manager in Britain and give the combined firm assets of around £670 billion.

Standard Life’s flagship GARS (Global Absolute Return Strategies) multi-asset strategy funds saw £5.6 billion in net outflows over the period, partially offset by an increase of 32% in net inflows into other products of £5 billion.

Standard Life said it would pay an interim dividend of 7p per share, up 8.2%.

Profit for the period attributable to equity holders of Standard Life plc rose 29% to £292 million.

Gross inflows were “resilient” at £20.7 billion (H1 2016: £21.8 billion) but redemptions increased to £24.4 billion (H1 2016: £20.9 billion) resulting in net outflows of £3.7 billion.

Fee-based revenue was up 5% to £836 million.

Standard Life CEO Keith Skeoch said: “Standard Life has delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2017 with fee based revenue up 5% and operating profit up 6%.

“We continue to see the benefits of targeted investments to further our diversification agenda, the success of our newer investment solutions and the ongoing focus on operational efficiency.

“This has allowed us to grow assets, profits, cash flows and returns to shareholders.

“With the proposed merger with Aberdeen on track for completion on 14 August we are ready to accelerate the pace of strategic delivery as we open the next chapter of our transformation to a diversified world-class investment company.

“The combined leadership team of Standard Life and Aberdeen has been working well together to ensure “Day 1” readiness.

“We are well placed to continue to meet changing client and customer needs globally, and to generate growing and sustainable returns for our shareholders.”