Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Standard Life profits beat expectations

Standard Life building
Standard Life employs about 10,000 people

Insurance firm Standard Life has reported better-than-expected profits in 2009 and unveiled plans for an extra £100m of cost-cuts by 2012.

Operating profit at the Edinburgh-based firm fell 1.5% to £919m, but the result beat expectations thanks to its Asian unit and rising investor confidence.

The firm, which employs 10,000 people, made £47m of cuts last year towards its target of £75m by the end of 2010.

Standard added it would spend more than £200m to develop and promote products.

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"The year 2009 was a successful year for Standard Life in which we delivered against our strategic objectives and built a strong platform for future profitable growth," said chief executive David Nish.

The cost reductions achieved during the year included outsourcing some IT development and restructuring some European service operations.

The results were also boosted by reducing risk in its existing business, analysts said.

Without these risk reductions, the profit figure would have been in line with market forecasts, they added.

"[Standard Life] is doing well in difficult circumstances, but that is about the best you can say," said Kevin Ryan at ING.

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