Aviva announces 1 per cent increase in profit

British life and general insurer Aviva said on Thursday it was reviewing its Asia business as it posted a forecast-beating 1% rise in first-half operating profit.

File photo dated 21/10/2008 of a sign for  British insurance giant Aviva which has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions out of Europe's 300 biggest companies, research said today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date:Tuesday April 26, 2011. The London-based insurer topped the Europe 300 Carbon Ranking, published by the Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO) and was joined in the top 10 by fellow insurer RSA and investment firm Man Group. See PA story CITY Emissions. Photo credit should read:Chris Radburn/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/10/2008 of a sign for British insurance giant Aviva which has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions out of Europe's 300 biggest companies, research said today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date:Tuesday April 26, 2011. The London-based insurer topped the Europe 300 Carbon Ranking, published by the Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO) and was joined in the top 10 by fellow insurer RSA and investment firm Man Group. See PA story CITY Emissions. Photo credit should read:Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Last week, sources told Reuters that Aviva is considering selling its Asia business at a valuation of more than $2 billion (£1.64 billion), following a review of the business due by the end of September.

Britain’s second-largest insurer, which employs hundreds of people in Yorkshire said operating profit rose to 1.45 billion pounds in the first half of the year from 1.44 billion pounds a year earlier, a slightly better performance than the 1.43 billion pounds predicted in a company-supplied analyst forecast.

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Maurice Tulloch, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Aviva has strong foundations to build upon but there is much to do to improve our performance.

“Our performance is mixed, with operating earnings per share up 2%. We have delivered strong general insurance results with

a combined ratio of 95.9%. In life insurance and asset management, operating profits declined due to challenging market

conditions and the absence of a longevity reserve release.

“In June we announced a plan to improve Aviva’s performance and deliver an excellent experience for our customers. We have made

a quick start; separating management of our life and general insurance businesses in the UK and bringing together UK Digital and

UK General Insurance.

“Our financial position remains strong with a capital surplus of £11.8 billion and £2.3 billion of cash at group. Maintaining such

a healthy capital surplus is important as we continue to reduce our debt levels and safely navigate uncertain market conditions.

Aviva is ready and resilient.

“In line with our progressive dividend policy, the Board of Directors has increased the interim dividend by 3% to 9.50 pence per share.

“I am working with the Board to refresh Aviva’s strategy and we have decided to review the strategic options for our Asian businesses.

Aviva’s businesses in Asia have excellent growth and earnings potential and we are considering a range of options to help these

businesses reach their potential.

“I am confident that our combination of excellent insurance skills, a strong balance sheet and world class distribution and partners

provide a strong foundation for Aviva’s future success.”