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Breakingviews - Capital Calls: Aviva’s slim fast plan

The Aviva logo sits outside the company head office in the city of London, Britain March 7, 2019.

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Concise insights on global finance in the Covid-19 era.

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SLIMMING DOWN. Amanda Blanc is making progress on her to-do list. The Aviva chief executive on Tuesday announced the sale of the insurer’s French unit for 3.2 billion euros to French insurer Aema. The sale will increase her excess capital by over 2 billion pounds and is valued at 0.8 times the 15 billion pound UK insurer’s Solvency II own funds, in line with proceeds from Chinese insurer Anbang’s sale of Vivat last year.

Without France, Aviva is a simpler company consisting of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada. That may make it more attractive to suitors. After all, peer RSA Insurance was gobbled up by Canada’s Intact Financial and Denmark’s Tryg for over 7 billion pounds last year. Aviva’s share price is also off 25% over the past three years, underperforming peers. It may not be long before Blanc is fielding offers as well as making them. (By Aimee Donnellan)

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