The figuresProfit before tax rose to £2.13bn in 2018 from £2bn in 2017 while group operating profit rose two per cent to £3.12bn from £3.07bn in 2017.
Why it’s interestingAviva’s shares are down three per cent today as the markets respond to the company’s statement that “our near-term outlook entering 2019 is more muted than our outlook a year ago”. In particular, the insurer said it sees “potential headwinds from weak investment markets”, although highlights its “robust and resilient” balance sheet. Aviva appointed Tulloch, former head of its international business, as its new chief executive on Monday after sacking former boss Mark Wilson five months earlier, citing a desire to increase shareholder value.
This aim drove the company to spend £600m on share buybacks in 2018, its results show, helping push operating earnings per share up seven per cent to 58.4p. Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Nicholas Hyett said: "Ongoing restructuring and the disposal of fringe businesses mean the group’s been very inward looking in recent years, although it’s also in much better shape." "Tulloch is a potentially odd choice if the board are looking to shake things up though. He’s been with Aviva for 27 years and his pledge to cut debt and focus on insurance fundamentals is hardly going to set the world on fire. It’s early days, but at first glance it looks like the plan is to ‘re-energise' Aviva with more of the same.”