Investors could be in line for special Standard Life divi

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Analysts believe Standard Life may reveal plans to reward shareholders with a special dividend when the Edinburgh-based life and pensions giant publishes its full-year results this week.

The City has pencilled in consensus forecasts for group operating profits of £853 million for 2012, an increase of 57 per cent, and Exane BNP Paribas believes a one-off payment in the order of 30p per share may also be announced because Standard Life has more capital than it needs.

Analyst Andy Hughes said: “The big question on Thursday is what they will do with the money, and we believe they could announce a special dividend.”

As well as strong business growth, analysts argue that Standard Life’s recent £500m bond issue in the UK, the sale of Canadian properties, a renegotiation of a re-insurance arrangement worth £140m and the £96m proceeds of an indemnity insurance claim have left the company with significant leeway for a one-off return to investors.

Shareholders are already forecast to benefit from an anticipated dividend rise of 6 per cent to 14.69p a share.