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Standard Life Aberdeen H1 profit rises YOY but outflows persist

Standard Life Aberdeen PLC saw a year-over-year increase in first-half profit but said net outflows continued but slowed to £15.9 billion during the period, compared to £16.9 billion a year ago.

The British asset manager reported first-half profit attributable to equity shareholders of £661 million under International Financial Reporting Standards, up from £185 million in the year-ago period.

Profit before tax from continuing operations rose year over year to £629 million from £127 million, mainly due to the gain on the sale of shares in India-based HDFC Life Insurance Co. Ltd. in the first half and a £243 million reversal of the impairment of the company's investment in Phoenix Group Holdings PLC recognized in the second half of 2018.

EPS was 27.0 pence, compared to 6.2 pence in the first half of 2018.

Revenue from contracts with customers fell on a yearly basis to £860 million from £1.02 billion, while investment return increased to £318 million from £10 million. Profit on disposal of interests in associates reached £443 million, including £442 million related to the HDFC Life Insurance share sale, up from £6 million a year ago.

Restructuring and corporate transaction expenses increased year over year to £192 million from £59 million. Change in nonparticipating investment contract liabilities totaled £197 million, up from £2 million a year earlier.

Total expenses from continuing operations reached £1.33 billion, compared to £996 million in the year-ago period.

Standard Life Aberdeen's total assets under management and administration stood at £577.5 billion as of June 30, up from £551.5 billion at the end of 2018, mainly reflecting positive market movements and investment performance of £41.2 billion.

As of Aug. 6, the company has returned £550 million to shareholders through its £750 million share buyback program, with the final phase of the buyback expected to begin in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Standard Life Aberdeen said it has completed setting up the joint venture between its asset management division, Aberdeen Standard Investments, and CYBG PLC unit Virgin Money Holdings (UK) PLC. Former Standard Life Aberdeen Chief Strategy Officer Lan Tu was named CEO of the venture, which the company said will allow it to offer investment solutions to CYBG's combined customer base of 6 million customers.