Belfast Telegraph

Aviva 'looking to sell Friends Provident International'

Insurance giant Aviva is reportedly looking to offload Friends Provident International (FPI) in a deal worth up to 750 million US dollars (£596 million).

The company announced earlier this month that it had seen lower profits from the business - which serves high net worth clients in the Middle East and Asia - and was placing it under "strategic review".

Two Chinese conglomerates - Fosun Group and HNA Group - are eyeing the division, though the formal bidding process has not yet started, according to T he Wall Street Journal.

It cited sources saying the business could fetch up to 750 million US dollars.

Aviva's London-listed shares were up 1% following the report.

A disposal would come just years after the UK insurance firm acquired FPI as part of its £5.6 billion takeover of Friends Life Group in April 2015.

Aviva declined to comment.

It was also revealed on Tuesday that Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson picked up a £4.4 million total pay package for 2016, including a 2% increase in his annual salary to just over £1 million.

Aviva's annual report added that top bosses at Aviva - including Mr Wilson - will see their salaries rise by another 2.5% on April 1.

The remuneration committee said the boost was in line with "expectations around market movements" and UK inflation - which experts are forecasting will climb towards 3% this year.

But overall pay for the Aviva boss dropped 20% in 2016 from £5.4 million a year earlier, due in part to a fall in the long-term incentive plan payout - which is partially linked to targets for total shareholder returns.

Aviva earlier this month pledged to hand more cash to shareholders after announcing a 12% rise in operating profits to £3.01 billion for the year ending in December.

It said assets under management grew by close to a fifth at £345 billion, with fund management operating profits climbing 32% to £139 million.

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