Insurer Prudential is planning an initial public offering of part of its US business as it fights demands from rebel investor Third Point to offload the whole of the business. 

The US hedge fund last month said it had bought around 5% of the company and called on Prudential to cut its London head office as well as hive off the US business Jackson, proposals with which investors have sympathy. 

Prudential's main businesses are in Asia and the US after it spun off its British unit last year. 

Prudential was planning a minority IPO of Jackson, chief executive Mike Wells - who formerly served as the boss at Jackson - said in a statement. 

"In order to diversify at pace, Jackson will need access to additional investment, which we believe would best be provided by third parties," he said, adding the firm had "taken a number of management actions" towards this. 

Prudential reported an above-forecast 20% rise in 2019 adjusted operating profit to $5.3 billion, boosted by performance in its Asian operations. 

This compared with a $5.1 billion forecast in an analyst poll supplied by the company. 

Adjusted operating profit from Asian insurance operations was $3 billion, up by 14%, with Hong Kong up by 24%.

But fewer visitors from mainland China caused a fall in total Hong Kong annual premium equivalent sales - a key revenue measure - by 11% and a fall in new business profit of 12%. 

Anti-government demonstrations in the Chinese-ruled territory, which began in June, resulted in a sharp drop in tourist arrivals, mainly those from the mainland, hitting sales of insurance policies. 

Prudential also said it was monitoring the coronavirus outbreak, which has cut economic activity in the region. 

Jackson saw a 28% drop in new business profit, which Prudential said reflected lower interest rates and changes in its product mix. 

Analysts say Jackson is hard to value because of its complex annuity products. 

Prudential said today it would pay a second interim ordinary dividend of 25.97 cents per share.