Aviva continues selling spree with sale of French and Italian branches

The Aviva sign, outside its Surrey Street building. Photo: Antony Kelly

Aviva has continued its overseas selling spree - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHI

Insurance giant Aviva has sold off yet more of its major European branches with the sale of Aviva France and Italia.

The business, which employs 5,000 people out of the city's Surrey Street, received £2.8 billion from Aéma Groupe for the Aviva France business. 

Amanda Blanc, group chief executive officer for Aviva, said: “This is a very significant step forward for Aviva. It greatly simplifies the company as we focus on our core businesses in the UK, Ireland and Canada.

“I am confident that Aéma, with its strong insurance heritage and reputation, will be an excellent owner of Aviva France. I wish the business and all its people every success for the future.”

It received a further £284m from Allianz for the sale of Aviva Italia. 

That brings the total cash consideration for both sales to £3.08bn.

However, a spokeswoman confirmed that neither of the sales will impact jobs in the Norwich branch of Aviva. 

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She added that Aviva announced last year that it was looking to focus more on core markets of the UK, Ireland and Canada. 

The strategy will not impact UK branches. 

And since making the announcement Aviva has indeed been on a selling spree. 

Last year Aviva sold off a raft of its branches in the Far East. 

This included Vietnam Life which was sold in November 2020 to Manulife Financial Asia in an all-cash deal.

It follows sales of Aviva's Hong Kong joint venture just a week before, one former division of its Italian arm in November, and its Singaporean division in September.

In March 2021 the brand sold off its Poland arm. 

The branch was also sold to Allianz for a cash consideration of £1.8m. 

At that time the Lithuania branch was also sold off. 

Ms Blanc said at the time: “This transaction delivers excellent value for Aviva shareholders. It is also a very positive outcome for our customers, employees and distribution partners and we are confident that Aviva Poland will continue to prosper under Allianz's ownership.”

A few months later in May 2021, Aviva also sold its Turkish branch. 

Aviva received £122 million in cash consideration, which included a £3 million dividend from AvivaSA received in March 2021.

The business was sold to Ageas Insurance International.