Standard Life's promise of a £1.75 billion shareholder pay-out following the surprise sale of its Canadian business sent shares sharply higher today.
The Edinburgh-based pensions giant rose by as much as 10% on the FTSE 100 Index after it announced the sale to a subsidiary of Canadian insurance and wealth manager Manulife for around £2.2 billion.
The planned return of capital to shareholders of £1.75 billion is equivalent to 73p a share and takes the total amount in dividends and other returns to shareholders since 2010 to £3.5 billion or 147p a share, Standard said.
Standard still has a large base of individual shareholders following its demutualisation in 2006.
Chief executive David Nish added: " This transaction provides our group and its shareholders with significant strategic and financial benefits."
Standard said it had been successful in transforming its Canadian operations into a business which has consistently delivered strong results.
Mr Nish continued: "As a result, the Canadian business is now a much more attractive proposition and the sale allows us to realise fully the value of the business for our shareholders."