Aviva decides against sale of China and Singapore units

Insurance giant Aviva said it plans to retain its arms in Singapore and China following media speculation over the future of its businesses in Asia.

However, the company confirmed that it is continuing with a strategic review of its operations in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Indonesia, which could result in a sale.

The FTSE 100 company said it has decided to hold on to its Singapore division following a thorough review, after concluding it would be in the best interest of shareholders.

The Singapore business had been at the centre of takeover offers and reportedly had interest from Japan’s MS&AD Insurance Group and Manulife Financials. The two firms were also interested in its Vietnam division, according to a report from Bloomberg.

It also said it will continue operating its joint venture in China due to the large “scale of the market, excellent relationship with partner COFCO and the high growth prospects”.

Both the Singapore and China units delivered double-digit operating profit growth in 2018 and are earning “attractive returns”, it added.

Aviva also said that both countries are expected to help boost group dividends in 2019.

Meanwhile, it is still working with its partners in Hong Kong to consider options for the division which has been impacted by political turmoil in the region.

In August, Aviva signalled the potential sale of its business in Asia as it also hailed “steady” progress in the first half amid a turbulent economic backdrop.

In June, the company announced that it would axe 1,800 jobs to cut costs, just a few months into Maurice Tulloch’s tenure as chief executive following his appointment in March.