International Finance

Several rivals interested in $2.75 bn Aviva Asia insurance unit

Aviva Asia business sale
Aviva is in talks with a financial adviser regarding the possible sale and a formal process could begin in the fourth quarter

UK-based general life insurer Aviva is in talks to put Aviva’s insurance business in Asia, which is valued at over $2.75 billion, up for sale. Aviva is in talks with a financial adviser regarding the possible sale and a formal process could begin in the fourth quarter.

Discussions are at an early stage and the decision to sell will only be made after a review of Aviva’s Asia business, which is expected to be completed by the end of the current quarter.

According to reports, several rival insurers have already shown interest in Aviva’s insurance division in Asia. However, some potential bidders would only want to acquire parts of the division.

Aviva’s insurance businesses in Asia including China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam have recorded a 26 percent rise in operating profit in 2018, with Singapore contributing nearly half of it. It is noteworthy that, only Singapore and Vietnam are wholly-owned businesses.

The company has more than half of its customers outside the home market. The insurer has 885,000 clients in Singapore.

According to JP Morgan, a sale would be a step in the right direction to improve the structure of Aviva’s business and would likely net the insurer around $1.82 to $2.42 billion.

Earlier in March, Aviva appointed Maurice Tulloch as its chief executive. The insurer is expected to go through an overhaul. It has already announced a restructuring of its UK operations in June, aiming to save $362.82 million.

In recent years, Southeast Asia has emerged as a promising market for global investors due to low penetration of insurance and fast growing economies.

Recently, an Aviva sponsored survey revealed that just one in five households in rented accommodation has life insurance, compared to three out of five of their home-owning counterparts with a mortgage.

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