Insurance giant Prudential said Wednesday that net profits surged 55 percent last year, as it was lifted by solid growth in key market Asia. Earnings after taxation jumped to £2.2 billion ($3.3 billion, 2.5 billion euros) in 2012, compared with £1.4 billion in 2011, the London-listed company said in a results statement. \"Prudential has produced a strong performance in 2012,\" said group chief executive Tidjane Thiam in the earnings release, noting that its total customer base stood at about 24 million people. \"In 2012, we added more than one million new customers in Asia, while in the US we sold more than 200,000 new policies.\" Operating profit, or earnings before tax and interest payments, advanced 25 percent to £2.533 billion. \"This performance has been largely driven by our \'sweet-spot\' markets including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand,\" Prudential said. The company\'s share price meanwhile rallied 3.01 percent to 1,060 pence in morning deals on London\'s rising stock market, after Prudential also ramped up its full-year shareholder dividend by 15.9 percent to 29.19 pence per share. \"Our focus on capital and risk management has allowed us to deliver both growth and cash to shareholders, despite a challenging macroeconomic environment,\" said Thiam. \"Our business in Asia has continued to demonstrate the benefits of both its scale and its diversification.\"