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Prudential chief apologises and seeks investor support

Tidjane Thiam apologises to investors for the way he handled the insurance giant's recent investment

Prudential chief executive Tidjane Thiam has apologised to investors for the manner in which he handled the insurance giant's recent investment moves but renewed efforts to garner their support for its bid to acquire AIA.

The Pru's shareholders are set to vote over a £14.5bn rights issue to fund its takeover of AIA, the Asian arm of American insurer AIG. The move, considered risky by major investors, has seen Thiam come in for strong criticism.

Thiam and team began fresh rounds of talks with investors on Monday, promising to double Asian profits within three years, in a bid to win over at least 75 per cent of shareholders whose votes are crucial for the deal to go through.

The chief executive had come under strong pressure to convince skeptical investors about the deal, especially after the UK Financial Services Authority blocked the rights issue the first time over questions of sufficient capital.

Prudential's chairman told shareholders that their vote to back the deal would not be considered a vote of confidence in Thiam.