UPDATE 1-Jupiter posts $1 bln net outflows on weak demand for UK, Europe-focused funds

(Adds details from the statement, background on the company)

April 20 (Reuters) - British firm Jupiter Fund Management Plc reported net outflows of 776 million pounds ($1.09 billion) for the first quarter on Tuesday, mainly due to lower client demand for UK and Europe-focused equity strategies.

Jupiter’s update come in contrast to its rivals, who have seen a rush of inflows, as COVID-19 vaccination drives and government stimulus measures across the world quelled pandemic concerns and lifted investor sentiment.

Its total assets under management (AUM) still inched up to 58.79 billion pounds by March 31 from 58.73 billion pounds at the end of the previous quarter, while mutual funds saw total net outflows of 848 million pounds.

But the overall reading was still an improvement compared to net outflows of 2.3 billion pounds for the same period a year earlier, when markets were pressured by fears over the pandemic and its impact on economic growth.

The company, which became the second-largest provider of retail funds in the UK after its purchase of Merian Global Investors, had to temporarily suspend its special dividend in February last year due to the health crisis.

While Merian contributed 17 billion pounds to overall AUM last year, it recorded most of the fund’s outflows in the second half of 2020 at 2.2 billion pounds.

$1 = 0.7144 pounds Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich