Thursday 4 March 2021 7:39 am

Aviva reports record group protection sales as it sells off Italian business

Insurance giant Aviva has reported operating profit remained stable even in the face of the pandemic amid a sale of its Italian and French division. 

The insurer reported operating profit of £3.16bn while its core business cash remittances rose marginally to £1.4bn. 

The FTSE 100 company said it had delivered record sales in group protection as well as record sales of bulk purchase annuities. It also saw net flows in savings and retirement reach new highs.

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“Our performance in 2020 demonstrates the resilience of our core businesses and our growth potential,” chief executive Amanda Blanc said. 

The firm has also announced today a £800m debt tender offer as it looks to accelerate its debt reduction plans and lower debt by a total of £1.7bn in the first half of 2021. 

Aviva also said it had completed the sale of its remaining Italian Life and General Insurance businesses for €873m, which values the businesses at €1.2bn. It is also in the process of putting its French division up for sale. 

It said the divestment is “major progress in [its] strategic transformation” and on completion will significantly strengthen capital and liquidity – excess capital by £3bn and centre cash by £3.9bn. 

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“The sale of our Italian operations to high quality buyers is a positive outcome for our customers, employees, distributors and shareholders,” Blanc said. 

Earlier this week Aviva announced it planned to shrink its carbon footprint to net zero by 2040. The firm said it had written to the biggest carbon emitters in its portfolio urging them to sign up to climate targets. It faced criticism from campaigners who called for the insurer to “draw clear red lines against the expansion of fossil fuels.”