Aviva today vowed to buy back another £300m worth of its owns shares from investors after the insurer outstripped analysts expectations by posting a 35 per cent uptick in its operating profits in 2022.
The UK insurance giant today said its operating profits had surged by 35 per cent, to £2.2bn, in what company chief executive Amanda Blanc described as “very strong” results for 2022.
Blanc said the insurer is making “excellent progress” in achieving its goals “despite significant market volatility” as the firm said it underwrote £9.75bn worth of premiums in 2022, up eight per cent on 2021.
The launch of the insurer’s £300m share buyback scheme comes as Aviva is seeking to appease activist funds calling on it to return more money to shareholders.
The London headquartered insurance company also said it would be hiking its dividend by almost 50 per cent to 31p.
Aviva’s higher payouts come as the insurer today posted a 15 per cent increase in life insurance sales, and an eight per cent increase in general insurance sales.
The higher sales in turn saw Britain’s biggest insurance company grow its UK customer base to 15.5m people.
Aviva’s decision to launch its £300m share buyback scheme comes as the insurer has faced mounting pressure from activist investors to return more money to shareholders.
Swedish investment fund Cevian Capital, which holds a five per cent stake in Aviva, had previously called on the insurer to return £5bn to shareholders over a 2022.
Aviva’s new £300m share buyback scheme takes the total capital return to the insurer’s investors up to £5bn since 2021.
The insurer had previously given billions back to shareholders after raising funds through a series of assets sales during Blanc’s reign as chief executive.
Shares in the UK insurance giant are currently up more than 2.9 per cent.