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Standard Life Aberdeen FY Profit Rises; Approves Dissolution Of Co-CEO Structure

Standard Life Aberdeen plc reported that its IFRS profit attributable to equity holders for fiscal year ended 31 December 2018 increased by 19% to 830 million pounds mainly as a result of the 1.780 billion pounds gain on sale of the UK and European insurance business. The company said that its board unanimously approved the dissolution of its current co-Chief Executive structure, with effect from 13 March 2019.

The committee has determined that no increases to salaries would be made for any of the executive Directors. Salaries will therefore remain in line with 2018, the company said.

The company noted that its board is proposing a final dividend of 14.3 pence, the same amount as was paid at this stage last year. Assuming shareholders vote to approve this at the upcoming Annual General Meeting, this would give a total dividend for 2018 of 21.6 pence, up 1.4% on the year.

IFRS profit attributable to equity holders increased by 19% to 830 million pounds from 699 million pounds, mainly as a result of the 1.780 billion pounds gain on sale of the UK and European insurance business and the inclusion of full year adjusted profit from Aberdeen (2017 result only included Aberdeen profit from 14 August 2017) which was partly offset by the amortisation and impairment of intangible assets acquired in business combinations which increased to 1.155 billion pounds (2017: 138 million pounds).

This included an 880 million pounds impairment of the Aberdeen Standard Investments goodwill which reflects an appraisal of the asset based on the prevailing market conditions at 31 December 2018 and excludes future merger synergy benefits. Impairments also included 228 million pounds in respect of investment in Phoenix reflecting the lower market value of Phoenix as at 31 December 2018 which has subsequently recovered post year end.

IFRS loss before tax from continuing operations was 787 million pounds (profit of 438 million pounds in 2017) mainly due to a 1.397 billion pounds loss from adjusting items (profit of 4 million pounds in 2017). This was partly offset by the inclusion of a full year's adjusted profit from Aberdeen in 2018.

Adjusted profit before tax from continuing operations declined to 650 million pounds from the prior year's 660 million pounds reflecting lower revenue largely offset by a reduction in operating expenses as well as the inclusion of share of Phoenix adjusted profits from 1 September 2018.

The company said that its board unanimously approved the dissolution of its current co-Chief Executive structure, with effect from 13 March 2019.

Keith Skeoch has been appointed sole Chief Executive Officer. Martin Gilbert becomes Vice Chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen, Chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments and will continue to be an Executive Director of the Board.

After a career with the Group of some 34 years, Bill Rattray will retire from the Board, by mutual agreement, on 31 May 2019. Bill was appointed to the Board in August 2017, having been Finance Director of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC since January 1991. He will be succeeded by Stephanie Bruce who, subject to satisfying all relevant regulatory requirements and processes, will take up the position of Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director on 1 June 2019. Stephanie's appointment will be subject to election by shareholders at the AGM on 14 May 2019.

In addition, Richard Mully will retire from the Board at the conclusion of the 2019 AGM. He has been a Director of the Company since August 2017, having served as a Director of Aberdeen since April 2012.

Following these changes, the Board will comprise four executive directors, five non-executive directors and the Chairman. The Board will be made up of four women and six men.

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