Aviva Sells Singapore Stake as CEO Blanc Kicks Off Revamp

Aviva Plc agreed to sell a majority stake in its Singapore business to a group of buyers for S$2.7 billion ($2 billion), as new Chief Executive Officer Amanda Blanc kickstarts her overhaul of the insurer.

The consortium is led by Singapore Life Ltd. and includes private equity firm TPG and insurer Sumitomo Life, according to a statement from Aviva on Friday. TPG will be the largest shareholder in the new company, Aviva Singlife, which will combine the two insurers’ businesses based in the city-state, while Aviva will retain a 25% stake.

Aviva’s shares rose as much as 7.4% in London trading.

“The sale of Aviva Singapore is a significant first step in our new strategy to bring greater focus to Aviva’s portfolio,” Blanc said in the statement. “We continue to work at pace and are seeking to take decisive action on our portfolio with the goal of further enhancing long term value for our shareholders.”

Blanc announced last month that Aviva would focus on its operations in the U.K., Ireland and Canada, signaling that underperforming units in other countries could be sold. French media reported earlier this week that the company had received a number of expressions of interest for its French business.

The sale price signals a “very strong start” to Blanc’s restructuring plans, Shore Capital analyst Alan Devlin said after the announcement.

The deal is expected to complete by January. The new combined Singapore business will have a value of S$3.2 billion, making this one of the largest insurance deals in Southeast Asia, according to a Singlife statement.

Aviva had already begun a strategic revamp under Blanc’s predecessor, Maurice Tulloch, including selling a stake in a Hong Kong unit and seeking buyers for several southeast Asia divisions.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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