LONDON -- The shares of Resolution (LSE:RSL) rallied 6 pence to 274 pence during early London trade this morning after the life and pensions group improved its annual dividend by 6%.
The full-year payout was raised from 19.89 pence to 21.14 pence per share, to give the shares a 7.7% yield.
The dividend lift accompanied 2012 results that showed underlying IFRS operating profits before tax rising from 277 million pounds to 309 million pounds.
The figures also revealed group new business of 1.2 billion pounds on an annual premium equivalent basis, as well as a 2 billion-pound capital adequacy at the group's Friends Life subsidiary.
Andy Briggs, the chief executive of Resolution, said:
The Group has made good operational and financial progress in 2012 and, importantly, sustainable free surplus has improved.
Our strategic outlook is attractive, we have scale businesses and our delivery in 2012 has given us competitive advantage so we are well placed for the key market trends. I am confident that we are creating a sustainable business that will improve returns for shareholders.
Briggs also admitted the dividend would be held at 21.14 pence per share from 2012, with "the expectation that a progressive dividend be considered once sustainable cash generation reaches the 400 million pounds per annum distribution target."
Last year's "sustainable free surplus" came in at 300 million pounds.
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