UK insurer Prudential has posted a 33% jump in operating profit for 2005 on the back of strong sales in Asia and the US.

The second-largest UK insurer said that a program of rapid expansion in the high profit markets of Asia had helped deliver the double-digit growth with operating profits from continuing operations of GBP1.7 billion, while new business profits increased by 15% across the group to GBP867 million.

Group chief executive Mark Tucker said: These results demonstrate the progress we are making in developing compelling positions in the world’s leading retail financial services markets. We have ambitious growth plans in place and I am confident in the outlook for the Group’s future prospects.

In the UK, the insurer operates Prudential, Egg and M&G. The company said that M&G had a record year with strong profit growth. The insurance business increased annual premium equivalent sales by 10% to GBP900 million.

US business Jackson National Life also saw an increase in new business sales of 13% to GBP515 million. Prudential said the business is placed to take advantage of the significant retirement savings flows expected from the baby boomer generation over the coming years.

Prudential will pay a full year dividend of 16.32 pence per share, compared to 15.84 pence per share in 2004.