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07 May 2020 | 11:09

Phoenix Group reaffirms intention to pay final dividend

(Sharecast News) - Phoenix Group on Thursday reaffirmed its intention to pay a final dividend and said it continues to target cash generation of up to ?900m in 2020. The insurer said it still plans to recommend payment of the proposed 2019 final dividend of 23.4p a share, subject to shareholder approval at the annual meeting.

Chairman Nicholas Lyons said: "The decision to recommend payment of the 2019 final dividend has been taken following extensive work, including assessing the impact of very severe scenarios on our solvency position, and only after ensuring we have sufficient capital to protect our customers' interests."

In addition, the company reiterated its target of 2020 cash generation of between ?800m and ?900m, despite "the challenging environment".

As at 24 April, Phoenix had an estimated Solvency II surplus of ?4bn versus ?3.1bn at the end of December 2019. The company also said it had seen "encouraging" first-quarter new business, with estimated incremental long-term cash generation of ?100m, comprising ?58m from UK Open and Europe businesses, up from ?48m in the first quarter of last year, and ?42m from bulk purchase annuities compared to zero in the corresponding period a year ago.

Chief executive officer Andy Briggs said: "The resilience of both Phoenix's operations and its balance sheet has been demonstrated during this period of significant market volatility. In these extraordinary times, Phoenix is taking significant steps to support and protect its customers, colleagues and the communities where we operate.

"We remain focused on delivering cash, resilience and growth and are on track to complete the acquisition of ReAssure in July."
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