Operating profits rose 20 per cent to £2.7bn in 2015, Aviva said this morning - seven per cent ahead of analyst expectations of £2.5bn. That allowed it to hike dividend by 15 per cent to 20.8p. Nice.
The company said the integration of Friends Life after its £6bn acquisition had gone "faster and better than expected" - and it expected to achieve its target of £255m savings this year, a year ahead of schedule. It's already made £128m of savings, it added.
For the first time ever, it unveiled its Solvency II capital ratio - the amount of capital it has to hand as a proportion of the minimum required by new Solvency II rules - was 180 per cent, at the "top end of our working range".
The company was among the FTSE 100's biggest risers on a disappointing day: its shares finished risers in mid-morning trading, with shares jumping 1.35 per cent higher, at 465.8p.
10 March 2016 @ 4:30pmAviva (AV.)
Why it's interesting
Aviva shares have been buffeted by market volatility in recent months - and strong winter storms over the Christmas period didn't help. Last week, the company warned floods had damaged its earnings to the tune of £100m.
But the swift integration of Friends Life looks like it has saved the day: back in October chief exec Mark Wilson said the acquisition was "everything we expected it to be" - and it is continuing to bear fruit.
The company said today it had "successfully navigated" turbulent external conditions, and had delivered a "stronger, cleaner balance sheet".
Analysts were also impressed. Hargreaves Lansdown investment analyst Charles Higgins said shareholders "can feel the benefit of having a simpler group, with fewer, but larger operating units and product strategies that meld with consumers' increasing desire to transact financial services digitally".
What Aviva said
Chief executive Mark Wilson said:
2015 was about stability and growth at Aviva, against a background of market volatility and uncertainty. Aviva is now a stronger and more focused business. We have completed the fix phase of our transformation.
The company may be nearing the end of its transformational period - and it's looking like it'll emerge a leaner, meaner, better-oiled machine.