LONDON May 16 British insurer Aviva Plc
said the value of new business rose by nearly a fifth in its
fiscal first quarter, with increased demand in Asia and its home
British market helping to offset weakness in Spain and Italy.
Aviva said the value of new business - a key measure of
growth - grew 18 percent to 191 million pounds ($291 million) in
the first three months of 2013.
In his first performance update since taking the reins at
the start of this year, Chief Executive Mark Wilson said that
the firm was on track to deliver a 400 million pounds cost
"Today's results demonstrate the first steps towards
delivery. I am conscious of the challenges and do not want to
set expectations at an unrealistic level. Progress so far has
been satisfactory and there is a great deal more we need to do
for our shareholders," he said in a statement on Thursday.
Aviva's strongest performances came from the UK life arm,
where new business increased 33 percent, while in Asia, growth
came in at 29 percent. Performance in weaker southern European
markets was described as "disappointing".
"There is clear scope for improvement in Spain and Italy,"
New Zealand born Wilson, former boss of Asian rival AIA
Group Ltd joined after spiralling costs and poor share
price performance triggered an investor revolt in 2012 that
forced out former CEO Andrew Moss.
Chairman John McFarlane subsequently drew up a review
promising savings from the sale or closure of more than a dozen
underperforming units across its insurance and asset management
Operating expenses at the firm were 10 percent lower at 769
million pounds with restructuring costs amounting to 54 million
pounds, Aviva said.
The firm said in May it is to cut 2,000 jobs, or around 6
percent of the global workforce over the next six months.
The trading statement comes days after shareholders backed
its new management team, one year after the rebellion against
pay plans that led to the departure of its chief
Management agreed in this year's round to freeze salaries
at last year's levels and shied away from awarding bonuses for
2012 to directors.