INSURER Aviva slashed its dividend by over a quarter as it fell to a £3bn loss last year, it announced this morning.
Shareholders in Aviva will get a 19p total dividend for 2012, down from 26p in the previous year and far below expectations, to help pay down debt.
The cut, Aviva's first since 2009, is the latest step in a reorganisation launched by Aviva last July after investors irked by a persistently weak share price forced out chief executive Andrew Moss.
"I regret that this has become necessary, but can assure shareholders we took this decision only after examining scrupulously all alternatives," Aviva chairman John McFarlane said in a statement.
The insurer fell to a total loss after tax of £3.05bn last year, down from a profit of £60m in 2011, driven primarily by previously-announced writedowns on the sale of its US business.