LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Aviva has agreed the sale
of its operations in France for 3.2 billion euros ($3.89
billion) to Macif's Aéma Groupe, as part of the British
insurer's shift to focus on its core operations in Britain,
Ireland and Canada.
London-based Aviva, led by boss Amanda Blanc, said the sale
would increase excess capital by 2.1 billion pounds ($2.95
billion) and cash of around 2.8 billion pounds.
Aéma Groupe, formed in January through the merger of French
mutual insurer Macif Group and Aésio Mutuelle, has 8 million
customers and a turnover of 8 billion euros.
Aviva France has 3 million customers and 7.8 billion euros
in revenue. It covers life insurance, property and casualty and
asset management markets in France.
Aviva's share price rose by 1.7% at the open in London.
"The transaction will increase Aviva's financial
strength, remove significant volatility and bring real focus to
the Group," Chief Executive Officer Blanc said.
Aviva expects to use the proceeds of the sale to support
debt reduction, invest for long-term growth and return excess
capital to shareholders.
The sale is central to Blanc's turnaround plan aimed at
streamlining its business after prolonged share price weakness
has concerned investors.
The insurer, which aims to complete the disposal by the end
of 2021, is looking to sell its continental European and Asian
businesses, it said last year.
Final bids for its Polish operations that could fetch around
2 billion euros are due on Friday, sources have previously told
It is also in the process of selling its Italian business,
sources had said.
($1 = 0.8218 euros)
($1 = 0.7108 pounds)
(Reporting by Clara Denina
Editing by Rachel Armstrong, Louise Heavens and David Evans)