Aviva receives £500m boost from US sale

BRITISH insurance giant Aviva was one of the top risers on yesterday’s FTSE after banking $800m (£495m) more than expected from the disposal of its US business.

The company’s shares closed up 1.4 per cent after announcing that it had sold Aviva USA to Athene Holding for $2.6bn, well above the $1.8bn expected when the deal was first announced in December 2012.

Regulatory difficulties delayed completion, meaning Aviva was due the extra money to cover estimated earnings and other improvements in statutory surplus between June and September 2013.

Aviva is currently mid-way through a major transformation under which it plans to shed thousands of staff and close underperforming units.

The plan, set out by chairman John McFarlane and continued under chief executive Mark Wilson, is designed to restore its balance sheet after it took a hammering in Eurozone countries.

Earlier this year Wilson slashed Aviva’s dividend and announced that in the future his company would offer less generous redundancy terms, paving the way for further job losses.

Aviva’s shares are up 38 per cent in the last six months.