Saturday 17 August 2019

Friends First fuels 104pc jump in Aviva Ireland's life assurance profits

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Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Operating profit at Aviva Ireland increased 7pc to €61m in the six months to June 30.

The group's performance was due to "material growth" in its life assurance profits, after the full inclusion of Friends First in the 2019 figures, according to a trading update.

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The life insurance arm at the business, which employs 1,600 people in Dublin, Cork and Galway, more than doubled its operating profit (104pc) to €30m.

Meanwhile, the value of new business premiums in this sector increased to €859m, from €494m in the prior year.

"Delivering sustainable profits enables us to continue to serve our Irish customers over the long term," Ireland CEO John Quinlan said.

However, its general insurance business saw its operating profit fall year-on-year to €31m, from €43m in the corresponding period of 2018, while the net written premium was down marginally. Elsewhere, Aviva Group confirmed that it is examining options for its Asian business as new CEO Maurice Tulloch's turnaround of the wider company takes shape.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the company's Asian assets could be valued at about $3bn to $4bn (€2.7bn to €3.6bn).

"Our review will garner whether our current strategy and ownership structure is optimal and helping our businesses to reach their full potential," Mr Tulloch, who took over in March, said.

The CEO said that he would unveil his plans for Aviva's international business at an investor day in November.

The shares rose as much as 2.4pc in London trading, the most in a month.

Operating profit rose 1pc to £1.45bn (€1.6bn) in the first half of 2019, according to a statement, slightly ahead of a company-compiled consensus forecast.

Additional reporting Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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