UK Insurer Aviva Sells Stake in Italian Life Unit for $475 Million

By | November 24, 2020

Aviva Plc is selling its stake in its Italian life insurance joint venture for about 400 million euros ($475 million) as Chief Executive Officer Amanda Blanc continues her revamp of the firm.

The insurer will sell its 80% holding in Aviva Vita to its partner UBI Banca, according to a statement Monday. The sale leaves Aviva with three insurance businesses in Italy, which are all currently being assessed to “maximize shareholder value,” the company said.

Blanc announced in August that Aviva would focus on its operations in the UK, Ireland and Canada, signaling that underperforming units in other countries could be disposed of. The company sold control of its Singapore business in September and is also pursuing a sale of its French unit.

“The sale of Aviva Vita is another important step forward as we reshape our portfolio,” Blanc said in the statement. “We will continue to be decisive as we seek to transform Aviva for the benefit of our shareholders.”

The deal adds to a flurry of recent insurance activity, topped by last week’s $9.6 billion takeover of RSA Insurance Group Plc in the biggest acquisition of a UK-listed company this year. On Friday, Zurich Insurance Group AG revealed it’s in talks to buy MetLife Inc.’s U.S. property and casualty unit.

Insurers are seeking to gain scale as they grapple with the impact of low interest rates and the coronavirus pandemic. Industry deals have been on a tear this year, with transactions totaling $78.5 billion announced so far, up 85% from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

–With assistance from Ben Scent.

Photograph: Aviva’s London headquarters at St. Helen’s is shown here on the left on Friday, April 20, 2018. Photo credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg.

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