LONDON – Prudential, Britain's biggest insurer, is considering moving its headquarters from London to Hong Kong to escape tough new capital rules for European insurers, the Sunday Times reported.
Prudential is concerned a conflict between Europe's Solvency II regime and U.S. insurance regulations could force it to hold billions of pounds of extra capital against its U.S.-based Jackson National Life unit if it remains domiciled in Europe, the paper said.
A Prudential spokesman declined to comment.
Solvency II, due to come into force in 2014, could force European insurers to hold extra cash reserves against subsidiaries operating in countries that have less exacting capital standards.
This extra capital requirement would be waived for countries whose insurance regulations are deemed by European regulators to be equivalent to Solvency II. No decision has yet been taken on whether U.S. capital rules for insurers are compatible.
There has been long-running speculation that Prudential could shift its headquarters to Asia in recognition of the region's large and growing contribution to its growth.
Prudential generates 45 percent of its sales in Asia, and has secondary stock market listings in Hong Kong and Singapore. The company uses cash from its mature UK business to fund expansion in the booming economies of south east Asia, and in 2010 launched an abortive $35 billion bid to buy local rival AIA, a deal which would have doubled its size in the region.
Prudential will confirm it is reviewing its domicile in its 2011 annual report, the Sunday Times said. Solvency II is designed to make insurers hold capital reserves in strict proportion to the risks they underwrite, and is expected to lead to an increase in capital requirements for many insurers.The country’s dates exports can be enhanced up to $200 million provided proper processing and packaging facilities are provided at farm level, Chief Executive Officer Harvest Tradings and Member Export Committee, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Ahmad Jawad said.
“Since dates are perishable in nature, processing and packing facilities should be provided at farms to tap full potential of the crop”, Ahmad said. He said estimated date production per annum in Pakistan is around 535,000 tons, of which only 86,000 tons is exported and the rest is either consumed locally, or perishes for want of different facilities.
Since 1999, per acre yield of dates in Pakistan has not increased so much whereas the worldwide production had increased by 166 percent during this period. He said, date palm needs immediate attention from producers, exporters, government and even public and private creditors.
The production and the percentage export of date palm has been showing a declining trend over the long period, he said and added the government needs to pay urgent attention towards production, processing and quality enhancement, preservation, research and marketing facilities to save and ensure growth of this important source of foreign exchange.
Due to the dearth of these facilities, dates are just dumped abroad at throwaway prices. In addition, developed importers of date palm, as Germany, Denmark, and UAE, are re-exporting Pakistani dates, after quality enhancement and preparation of by-products, at a price which is 4 to 6 times higher than their import price.
Other major importers of Pakistani dates include India, Nepal, US, UK, Afghanistan, and Canada. Out of the 300 varieties of dates produced in Pakistan, Begam Jangi of Balochistan, Aseel of Sindh and Dhakki of Dera Ismail Khan are the varieties which are much sought the world over due to their exotic taste. – Agencies