Aviva Plc has exited its Italian businesses in a pair of deals totaling 873 million euros ($1.1 billion) as the UK insurer continues to pivot to its core markets.
CNP Assurances and Allianz SE bought the London-based firm’s Italian life and general insurance units, respectively, according to a statement Thursday. Those deals, along with Aviva’s recent exit from France and an earlier sale in Italy, mean the company has divested its main non-core units under its new strategy.
“We have taken major steps forward in simplifying the business,” Chief Executive Officer Amanda Blanc said in the statement. “Our strategic focus is now on the U.K., Ireland and Canada where we have leading positions.”
Since joining last July, Blanc has moved at pace to exit businesses in Europe and Asia. The firm last month agreed to sell its French operation for 3.2 billion euros, the biggest deal yet among seven divestments that Blanc says will generate more than 5 billion pounds in cash proceeds.
In the Italian deals announced Thursday, CNP Assurances paid 543 million euros and the Allianz sale was agreed at 330 million euros.
Aviva, which earns most of its revenues from life insurance, had long been under pressure from investors and analysts to turn around the business. The share price remains lower than its level five years ago.
The firm, which also declared a 14 pence per share final dividend in its annual results statement Thursday, said the disposals would soon be able “to make a substantial return of capital to our shareholders.”
Aviva reported an operating profit of 3.2 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) for 2020, which was down slightly from the previous year but better than analysts had expected. The company expects to reduce its debt by 1.7 billion pounds in the first half of this year.
Aviva Investors, the firm’s asset management arm, saw inflows of 8.5 billion pounds for the year. Operating profit at the unit fell 11% to 85 million pounds.
Photograph: Aviva Plc logo shown on a window in this photo taken by Jason Alden/Bloomberg.
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