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    AV.   GB0002162385

AVIVA PLC

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Aviva to keep Singapore, China operations

11/18/2019 | 05:48am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A logo sits on the window of the Aviva head office in the city of London

British life and general insurer Aviva Plc will keep its operations in Singapore and China, it said on Monday, two days ahead of an expected strategy update and following speculation of a sale of the Singapore business.

Aviva began a review of its Asia business earlier this year under new CEO Maurice Tulloch.

"Following a thorough review of options for the Singapore business, including seeking offers ... Aviva has concluded that the best value for shareholders will be achieved by retaining the business," the company said.

Aviva also said it would keep its joint venture business in China.

The company added, however, that it was looking at strategic options for its operations in Vietnam, Indonesia and Hong Kong, where recent pro-democracy protests have threatened the territory's position as one of Asia's major financial centres.

Aviva's structure is considered clunky by analysts and investors, who expect Tulloch to unveil a streamlining of operations at the firm's investor day this week.

Sources familiar with the divestment plans told Reuters that very few bidders were interested in the Singapore business given the price tag and also as most global and regional insurers have an existing presence in Singapore.

Aviva's decision to keep the business "would lead you to believe ... it isn’t worth what they think it is," one trader told Reuters.

Reuters reported in September that Aviva was hoping to sell the Singapore and Vietnam businesses, its only wholly owned businesses in Asia, for up to $2.5 billion.

Bloomberg reported earlier on Monday that Japan's MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings and Canada's Manulife Financial were looking to buy Aviva's assets in Singapore and Vietnam.

Shares in the FTSE 100 company fell to two-week lows after the Aviva announcement, and were down 3.6% at the bottom of the index by 0938 GMT. The absence of a sale would make it harder for Aviva to pay down debt or give capital back to shareholders, which would likely be "disappointing for investors", said Shore Capital analysts, reiterating their hold rating on the stock.

Aviva's Asian businesses are in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.

The Asian operations posted a 25% rise in operating profit to 284 million pounds in 2018, according to Aviva's annual report. Singapore contributed nearly half of the Asian businesses' operating profit.

By Muvija M and Carolyn Cohn


ę Reuters 2019
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AT HOME GROUP INC. -0.08% 36.99 End-of-day quote.0.00%
AVIVA PLC 1.39% 393.1 Delayed Quote.19.22%
BEST INC. -1.90% 1.03 Delayed Quote.-48.53%
FTSE 100 0.88% 7078.42 Delayed Quote.8.61%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. 0.32% 6.22 End-of-day quote.-20.05%
LOOK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED 0.28% 1412 End-of-day quote.47.54%
MS&AD INSURANCE GROUP HOLDINGS, INC. -0.21% 3405 End-of-day quote.8.40%
MSCI UNITED KINGDOM (STRD) 1.76% 1160.115 Real-time Quote.10.47%
NEXT PLC -1.59% 7950 Delayed Quote.13.43%
S&P UNITED KINGDOM (PDS) 0.95% 1410.42 Delayed Quote.9.09%
THE LEAD CO., INC. -0.31% 636 End-of-day quote.-24.29%
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Financials
Sales 2021 46 772 M 65 284 M 65 284 M
Net income 2021 2 260 M 3 154 M 3 154 M
Net cash 2021 8 664 M 12 093 M 12 093 M
P/E ratio 2021 6,96x
Yield 2021 5,58%
Capitalization 15 228 M 21 272 M 21 256 M
EV / Sales 2021 0,14x
EV / Sales 2022 0,14x
Nbr of Employees 28 596
Free-Float 97,1%
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 21
Last Close Price 3,93 GBX
Average target price 464,14 GBX
Spread / Average Target 11 707%
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Managers and Directors
Amanda Blanc Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Jason Michael Windsor Chief Financial Officer & Director
Mark George Culmer Non-Executive Chairman
Nitinbhai Babubhai Maganbhai Amin Chief Operating Officer
Michael Mire Independent Non-Executive Director
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