Business

Aviva to keep Singapore, China businesses

LONDON : British life and general insurer Aviva will keep its operations in Singapore and China, it said on Monday, two days ahead of an expected strategy update.

Aviva began a review of its Asia business earlier this year under new chief executive Maurice Tulloch.

"Following a thorough review of options for the Singapore business, including seeking offers... Aviva has concluded that the best value for shareholders will be achieved by retaining the business," it said.

Aviva also said it would keep its joint venture business in China.

The company added, however, that it was looking at strategic options for its operations in Vietnam, Indonesia and Hong Kong, where recent pro-democracy protests have threatened the territory's position as one of Asia's major financial centres.

Aviva's structure is considered clunky by analysts and investors, who expect Mr Tulloch to unveil a streamlining of operations at the firm's investor day this week.

Sources familiar with the divestment plans told Reuters that very few bidders were interested in the Singapore business given the price tag and also as most global and regional insurers have an existing presence in Singapore.

Reuters reported in September that Aviva was hoping to sell the Singapore and Vietnam businesses, its only wholly owned businesses in Asia, for up to US$2.5 billion (S$3.4 billion).

Bloomberg reported earlier on Monday that Japan's MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings and Canada's Manulife Financial were looking to buy Aviva's assets in Singapore and Vietnam. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE