Aviva unveils shake-up of European arm

INSURANCE giant Aviva has unveiled plans for a &ldquo;quantum leap&rdquo; restructuring of its mainland European operations.<br /><br />The group, led by chairman Lord Sharman, has said it will integrate 12 separate businesses across Europe, and adopt a single distribution model across the region.<br /><br />It will simplify its product range as part of the move, designed to give it a standardised way of doing business across Europe. This will also allow it to speed up the process of launching new products, the group added in a statement.<br /><br />And, it will create a new holding company in Ireland to simplify its legal and regulatory obligations. The group stressed the efficiency benefits of the move, rather than any cost cuts that may be carried out.<br /><br />But Aviva&rsquo;s Europe chief executive Andrea Moneta said Ireland&rsquo;s low corporate-tax rate of 12.5 per cent would cut the company&rsquo;s overall tax bill.<br /><br />&ldquo;The programme is going to deliver a set of improvements in terms of revenues and costs, and there is also room for improvement in terms of the blended tax rate we have,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />The group has laid out a target of doubling its profits between 2007 and 2012. <br /><br />The businesses being restructured exclude Delta Lloyd, which the group will sell to investors under an initial public offering.