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Prudential enters the mutual fund market in Thailand through the acquisition of leading asset management company, TMB Asset Management and distribution partnership with TMB

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Prudential enters the mutual fund market in Thailand through the acquisition of leading asset management company, TMB Asset Management and distribution partnership with TMB

Eastspring Investments (“Eastspring”), the Asian asset management business of Prudential plc (“Prudential”), has reached an agreement to initially acquire 65 per cent of TMB Asset Management Co., Ltd. (“TMBAM”), a leading asset management company in Thailand, from TMB Bank Public Company Limited (“TMB”) . Eastspring has an option to increase its ownership to 100 per cent in the future. As part of this acquisition, Eastspring has also entered into a distribution agreement with TMB to provide best-in-class investment solutions to their customers.

The acquisition of TMBAM, the fifth-largest asset manager1 in Thailand, with £10 billion 2 of assets under management which has grown by a market leading 26 per cent compound annual growth rate over the last three years, reinforces Prudential’s commitment to the Thai market.

It also complements Prudential’s fast growing life insurance business and provides Eastspring with a unique opportunity to establish a significant third party presence in the largest and fastest growing mutual fund market in the ASEAN region3. The completion of the transaction is subject to local regulatory approval.

By partnering with TMB, Thailand’s seventh largest bank4 by assets, with an extensive footprint of over 400 branches and six million customers, Eastspring will further enhance TMBAM’s strong track record of asset growth. These foundations provide an excellent position from which to capitalise on the attractive growth opportunities in Thailand’s mutual fund market arising from an expanding middle class, rising affluence, strong savings culture and a mutual fund penetration rate well below that in more developed markets.

Prudential has operated in Thailand for more than 20 years through Prudential Life Assurance (Thailand) Public Company Limited. At 31 December 2017, Prudential served over 1.5 million customers in Thailand and managed more than THB 90 billion of assets on their behalf.

Eastspring is Asia’s leading retail asset manager with £139 billion of assets under management and has been operating in Asia for almost 25 years. This acquisition expands Eastspring’s presence to 11 markets in Asia.

Nic Nicandrou, Chief Executive of Prudential Corporation Asia, said: “Asia is the growth engine of Prudential and the acceleration of our asset management business is a key strategic priority. This acquisition further

enhances Prudential’s position in Thailand and demonstrates our commitment to meeting the fast-growing savings and investment needs of our clients in the region. Through its on-the-ground presence, Eastspring will also be able to enhance its investment support to our high-quality life insurance business.”

Guy Strapp, Chief Executive of Eastspring Investments, said: “This transaction enables us to further strengthen our unrivalled footprint in Asia. Eastspring has a long history of building successful partnerships and is ideally positioned to complement TMB’s strong local market position and distribution capabilities. We see substantial growth opportunities in Thailand and this transaction offers the potential to mutually develop a broad range of ‘best-in-class’ investment solutions for the rapidly expanding Thai mutual fund market.”

Khun Piti Tantakasem, Chief Executive Officer of TMB, said: “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Prudential, an internationally renowned business. Prudential has a well-established presence in Thailand and we believe that, through this partnership with Eastspring, we will be able to better serve the needs of TMB’s customers. Eastspring is an ideal partner to meet the growing investment needs of our customers by developing and offering local, regional and global investment solutions through its highly rated product offerings.”

Forward-Looking Statements

This document may contain ‘forward-looking statements’ with respect to certain of Prudential’s plans and its goals and expectations relating to its future financial condition, performance, results, strategy and objectives. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about Prudential’s beliefs and expectations and including, without limitation, statements containing the words ‘may’, ‘will’, ‘should’, ‘continue’, ‘aims’, ‘estimates’, ‘projects’, ‘believes’, ‘intends’, ‘expects’, ‘plans’, ‘seeks’ and ‘anticipates’, and words of similar meaning, are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on plans, estimates and projections as at the time they are made, and therefore undue reliance should not be placed on them. By their nature, all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty. A number of important factors could cause Prudential’s actual future financial condition or performance or other indicated results to differ materially from those indicated in any forward-looking statement. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the timing, costs and successful implementation of the demerger of the M&G Prudential business; the future trading value of the shares of Prudential plc and the trading value and liquidity of the shares of the to-be-listed M&G Prudential business following such demerger; future market conditions, including fluctuations in interest rates and exchange rates, the potential for a sustained low-interest rate environment, and the performance of financial markets generally; the policies and actions of regulatory authorities, including, for example, new government initiatives; the political, legal and economic effects of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union; the impact of continuing designation as a Global Systemically Important Insurer or ‘G-SII’; the impact of competition, economic uncertainty, inflation and deflation; the effect on Prudential’s business and results from, in particular, mortality and morbidity trends, lapse rates and policy renewal rates; the timing, impact and other uncertainties of future acquisitions or combinations within relevant industries; the impact of internal projects and other strategic actions failing to meet their objectives; disruption to the availability, confidentiality or integrity of Prudential’s IT systems (or those of its suppliers); the impact of changes in capital, solvency standards, accounting standards or relevant regulatory frameworks, and tax and other legislation and regulations in the jurisdictions in which Prudential and its affiliates operate; and the impact of legal and regulatory actions, investigations and disputes. These and other important factors may, for example, result in changes to assumptions used for determining results of operations or re-estimations of reserves for future policy benefits. Further discussion of these and other important factors that could cause Prudential’s actual future financial condition or performance or other indicated results to differ, possibly materially, from those anticipated in Prudential’s forward-looking statements can be found under the ‘Risk Factors’ heading in its most recent Annual Report and the ‘Risk Factors’ heading of Prudential’s most recent annual report on Form 20-F filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as under the ‘Risk Factors’ heading of any subsequent Prudential Half Year Financial Report. Prudential’s most recent Annual Report, Form 20-F and any subsequent Half Year Financial Report are available on its website at www.prudential.co.uk

Any forward-looking statements contained in this document speak only as of the date on which they are made. Prudential expressly disclaims any obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements contained in this document or any other forward-looking statements it may make, whether as a result of future events, new information or otherwise except as required pursuant to the UK Prospectus Rules, the UK Listing Rules, the UK Disclosure and Transparency Rules, the Hong Kong Listing Rules, the SGX-ST listing rules or other applicable laws and regulations.

  • Source: TMB Investor factsheet (as of March 2018)

2 Assets under management as at 31 March 2018

3 Source: Cerulli Asset Management in Southeast Asia 2017 Report, data as of Dec 2016

4 Source: TMB Investor factsheet (as of March 2018)

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Car sector seeks more UK government support as output tumbles

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Car sector seeks more UK government support as output tumbles 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak should use next week’s budget statement to help boost the car industry’s competitiveness, a trade industry body said on Friday, as production tumbled to its lowest January level since 2009.

Sunak is due to detail how he will further support the economy amid COVID-19 restrictions on March 3.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the furlough scheme that protects jobs should be extended, more support for training was needed and manufacturing investment should be encouraged through reform of the business rates tax.

“Next week’s budget is the chancellor’s (finance minister) opportunity to boost the industry by introducing measures that will support competitiveness, jobs and livelihoods,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

“We need to secure our medium to long-term future by creating the conditions that will attract battery gigafactory investment and transform the supply chain.”

Output in January fell by 27% year-on-year to 86,052 vehicles, hit by factors including dealership closures during a latest COVID-19 lockdown, international supply chain problems and the change in trading terms with the European Union.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by William Schomberg)

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up 2

By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal will start producing green hydrogen by the end of 2022 and already has private investment worth around 10 billion euros ($12 billion) lined up for eight projects that are expected to move forward, Environment Minister Joao Matos Fernandes said.

He told Reuters in a telephone interview there were also several “pre-contracts for the purchase and assembly of electrolysers” to produce the zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis out of water using renewable wind and solar energy.

Such hydrogen is more expensive to extract than the heavily polluting conventional method of using heat and chemical reactions to release hydrogen from coal or natural gas, known as brown and grey hydrogen respectively.

Hydrogen is now mostly used in the oil refining industry and to produce ammonia fertilisers, but sectors such as steelmaking, transportation and chemicals are beginning to develop large-scale hydrogen applications to gradually replace fossil fuels as countries try to reduce pollution.

The European Commission has mapped out a plan to scale up green hydrogen projects across polluting sectors to meet a net zero emissions goal by 2050 and become a leader in a market analysts expect to be worth $1.2 trillion by that date.

“By the end of 2022, there will certainly be green hydrogen production in Portugal,” Matos Fernandes said. “Green hydrogen will, over time, allow Portugal to completely change its paradigm and become an energy exporting country.”

He said seven groups had submitted applications under Europe’s IPCEI scheme for common-interest projects to make part of a planned export-oriented “hydrogen cluster” near the port of Sines, from where hydrogen could be shipped to Rotterdam. Total investment there is estimated at some 7 billion euros.

A consortium including Portugal’s main utility EDP, oil company Galp, world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas, among others, is behind one of the projects.

In Estarreja in north Portugal, local firm Bondalti Chemicals aims to invest 2.4 billion euros in a hydrogen plant.

Altogether, these envisage an installed capacity of over 1,000 megawatts (MW).

Matos Fernandes said Portugal was also negotiating with Spain the construction of a pipeline for renewable gases, including hydrogen, from Sines to France, crossing Spain.

LITHIUM PLANS

Spain and Portugal also want to develop an ambitious cross-border lithium project taking advantage of the geographical proximity of their lithium deposits and aiming to cover the entire value chain from mining to refining, cell and battery manufacturing to battery recycling, he said.

Portugal is already a large producer of low-grade lithium mainly for the ceramics industry, but is preparing to make higher-grade metal used in electric car batteries.

A much-awaited licensing tender for lithium-bearing areas that has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic should take place by the year-end, Matos Fernandes said.

He promised the tender would address environmental concerns by local communities and there would be no lithium mining “at any cost”.

The minister also said Portugal would use its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union to finalise a landmark law that would make the bloc’s climate targets irreversible and speed up emissions cuts this decade, expecting it to be approved in the first half of 2021.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans)

 

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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says ‘hopefully’ will meet vaccine supply goals

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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says 'hopefully' will meet vaccine supply goals 3

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot said on Thursday he hoped to meet the European Union’s expectations on the number of COVID-19 vaccines the company can deliver to the bloc in the second quarter, after big cuts in the first three months of the year.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has been under fire in the EU for its delayed supplies of shots to the 27-nation bloc, which ordered 300 million doses by the end of June.

“We are working 24/7 to improve delivery and hopefully catch up to the expectations for Q2,” Soriot told EU lawmakers in a public hearing.

Under its contract with the EU, the company has committed to delivering 180 million doses in the second quarter.

Soriot did not mention the 180 million target, but said he was confident the company will be able to increase production in the second quarter using factories outside the EU that had no production problems, including in the United States.

He confirmed the company was trying to get 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the EU by the end of March, which is less than half the amount it promised for the quarter in its contract.

The EU, which has fallen far behind the United States and former member Britain in vaccinating its public, has repeatedly urged the firm to deliver more.

Lower-than-expected yields – the amount of vaccine that can be produced from base ingredients – at its factories hurt output in the first three months.

Asked about supplies to Britain, which relies on the same factories used by the EU, Soriot said the former EU member with a population of around 66 million was smaller, and noted that most doses produced in the EU were used to serve the EU which has a population of about 450 million.

Executives from rival drugmakers that have developed or are testing COVID-19 vaccines, including Moderna Inc and CureVac NV were also part of the panel.

But most questions were directed at Soriot amid anger that the company has failed to deliver promised vaccine quantities to the bloc on schedule.

Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said the company has experienced fluctuations as the U.S. biotech group ramps up output of its COVID-19 vaccine.

He said usually a company would stockpile product ahead of a launch, but it is shipping every dose it makes, leaving it without any spare inventory.

His comments came a day after the company increased its output target for this year and 2022 as it invests in additional manufacturing capacity.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason in London and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Susan Fenton, Bill Berkrot and Keith Weir)

 

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