Aviva's strategy to focus its portfolio of businesses on key markets announced 12 months ago has seen "decisive progress" with eight businesses sold for £7.5bn, according to its half yearly results statement today (12 August).

The London-headquartered international insurer said it had completed disposals of Aviva Vita in Italy and Aviva SA in Turkey in Q2 2021 and expected the remaining transactions in France, remainder of Italy, Poland and Vietnam, to complete later in 2021.

"Our focus is on our strongest and most strategically advantaged businessess in the UK, Ireland and Canada, including Aviva Investors, where we have market-leading positions, can generate attractice returns, we have a strong powerful brand, we deliver excellent customer service and we have a clear opportunity to deliver sustainable growth. We will continue to invest for growth across the markets", it said.

It added that strategic investments had been retained in India, China and Singapore which provided "valuable opportunities in attractive and fast-growing markets".

Amanda Blanc, group chief executive, said: "We have made good progress on all fronts in the 12 months since we launched our strategy.
We are delivering on our commitment to make a substantial capital return to our shareholders. We intend to return at least £4 billion to investors by the end of the first half of 20221, starting with a share buyback of up to £750 million.

We delivered strong cash remittances of £1.1 billion in the first half and we are on track to achieve our objective of over £5 billion in cash remittances‡ between 2021 and 2023. In light of our confidence in the strength of the business and underlying cash flows, the Board has declared a 5% increase in the interim dividend to 7.35 pence per share."

She added: "The breadth of Aviva, across life insurance and general insurance, is a key strategic advantage and has driven a 17% increase in operating profit to £725 million. We also delivered some of our best ever sales figures in the first six months.

In UK general insurance we delivered our highest sales3 in a decade. In Savings & Retirement, net flows‡ increased by 24% to a record £5.2 billion, and we've added 100,000 new workplace customers, reinforcing our number one position."