INSURER Aviva saw its shares rocket yesterday after it said profits recovered strongly in the first half as it unveiled plans to offer 25 to 30 per cent of its Dutch unit Delta Lloyd to markets in a move that could raise €1bn (£855m).<br /><br />Shares of the firm surged by 9.7 per cent after the half-year results, which included a 31 per cent dividend cut, in a frantic day’s trading, before settling to a close of 375.7p – a 5.44 per cent gain on the day. <br /><br />The Delta Lloyd listing is likely to take place in October and has already attracted attention from Dutch institutional investors, sources close to the matter said. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are advising the offering, they added.<br /><br />Aviva chief executive Andrew Moss unveiled healthy pre-tax profits, under the statutory accounting model, of £940m in the first half, compared to a giant £1.3bn loss made in the same period last year. <br /><br />He said capital-raising measures, including the dividend cut that is expected to raise around £100m and the Delta Lloyd move, will allow the firm to pursue potential takeovers<br /><br /> “I am absolutely determined that Aviva should be in a position where it will have the flexibility to take advantage of any opportunities,” he said. <br /><br />And he said Aviva does not see Clive Cowdery’s Resolution buyout vehicle, which plans to buy insurer Friends Provident, as a threatening bid rival.<br />Aviva said its regulatory capital cushion rose to £3.2bn from last year’s £2bn. It said moves to cut nine per cent from its costs partly offset the impact of a four per cent decline in life and pensions sales.