Insurance group Prudential is under pressure from leading shareholders to sell its UK business, the Sunday Times has reported.

The report claims that two of the company’s top ten shareholders raised the issue of selling its UK operation with chief executive Mark Tucker.

The report said sources close to the situation claimed that several of the group’s investors remain focused on the successful operations in Asia and the US, while two shareholders reportedly asked the board to consider the option of selling the UK business. The source did not anticipate anything materializing from this, the report added.

Last month Prudential, the UK’s second largest life insurer, revealed plans to restructure its underperforming UK operations. The group hopes to increase cost savings in the UK three-fold to GBP150 million each year by 2009, compared the GBP40 million target announced in December 2005.

Prudential’s UK operation, which are estimated to be worth in the region of GBP6 billion, consists of four units: mature life, pensions, retirement income, and wealth, health & banking.