Aviva Exec Says Prudential/AIA Deal Creates Opportunities for Rivals

The proposed $35.5 billion takeover of AIA by Prudential Plc will offer opportunities for rival insurers to increase their market share in Asia, a top official at British insurer Aviva Plc said.

“For competitors it does give some opportunities,” Simon Machell, chief executive of Aviva Asia-Pacific, told Reuters in an interview on Monday. “First of all, while they go through what is going to be a big, complicated and time-consuming merger, there will be opportunities to take some business.”

Last week, Britain’s No.1 insurer Prudential announced the insurance sector’s biggest ever transaction by agreeing to buy American International Group Inc’s Asian life insurance business.

The transformation deal is expected to put pressure on insurers to seek more mergers to remain competitive in the fast-growing Asian region. The Prudential-AIA combine is set to become the dominant player in at least nine Asian markets if the deal goes through.

However, Machell said the deal was unlikely to change Aviva’s Asian growth strategy, which is largely built around organic growth. “I don’t expect there to be many sellers, and any sellers that generally are tend to be commanding a pretty high price,” he said.