Standard promises £1.75bn pay-out

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.

Standard Life chief executive David Nish said the sale of the group's Canadian arm will deliver significant benefits for shareholders.
Standard Life chief executive David Nish said the sale of the group's Canadian arm will deliver significant benefits for shareholders.

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."