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Aviva exits Italy as profit remains stable despite Covid-19

Operating profit fell by less than 1% to £3.2 billion in 2020, Aviva said.


Amanda Blanc took over as Aviva chief executive last year (Aviva/PA)

Amanda Blanc took over as Aviva chief executive last year (Aviva/PA)

Amanda Blanc took over as Aviva chief executive last year (Aviva/PA)

Aviva has exited Italy with two deals that will let the insurance giant focus on its key markets as part of an international withdrawal.

The firm, which has been on a selling spree for months, said that it had netted a combined 873 million euros (£754 million) from the sale of two arms.

CNP Assurances will buy Aviva’s Italian life insurance business, while Allianz snaps up the general insurance business.

It is less than four months since the firm sold its 80% in Aviva Vita, an Italian life insurance joint venture. Together the three sales have netted the company 1.3 billion euros (£1.1 billion).

It follows further sales in Turkey, France, Singapore and Vietnam, all in the last six months.

2020 was a year of significant change for AvivaAmanda Blanc, chief executive

The business said it is also looking at its options in Poland and other international joint ventures.

“2020 was a year of significant change for Aviva. We have taken major steps forward in simplifying the business, most recently with the sale of Aviva France and today’s announcement of the sale of the rest of our Italian operations,” said chief executive Amanda Blanc.

“Our strategic focus is now on the UK, Ireland and Canada where we have leading positions.”

The announcement came alongside Aviva’s results for the year, showing a £23 million drop in operating profit to around £3.2 billion.

It declared a total dividend of 21p for 2020, up from 15.5p a year earlier.

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Ms Blanc said that the performance in 2020 demonstrated the growth potential in its core markets. It saw record sales in several areas.

In the UK, the company’s savings and retirement business saw a £1 billion jump in net flows to a record £8.5 billion.

The firm said that the economic outlook is still uncertain, but noted that the progress on global vaccinations was “positive”.

It said: “Aviva has responded incredibly well to the challenge in 2020 presented by Covid-19 and Brexit. Our core markets have proven to be resilient and our customer service has been very strong.”

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