Will shares take off under new Aviva boss? Amanda Blanc hints she will pull out of some overseas markets in major shake-up
Aviva’s chief executive Amanda Blanc ended her first month in the job by hinting she could pull out of a number of overseas markets in a major shake-up of the insurer.
In a move welcomed by investors, Blanc said the insurer would be focusing on its ‘core operations’ in the UK as well as in Ireland and Canada.
She suggested the company could pull out of its operations elsewhere, such as in Asia and continental Europe.
In a move welcomed by investors, Aviva’s chief executive Amanda Blanc (pictured) said the insurer would be focusing on its ‘core operations’ in the UK as well as in Ireland and Canada
Aviva would manage these businesses ‘in shareholders’ best interests’, Blanc said, investing where there were opportunities for growth, but added: ‘There may be better owners for these businesses than Aviva.’
Aviva, which has long been criticised for its sprawling business and a lack of strategic direction, has been under pressure for several years to slim down and clarify its focus.
Blanc has left the door open for smaller parts of Aviva to be sold off, and said: ‘We have ruled out a complete break-up of Aviva.’
Shares jumped 4.6 per cent on the news.
Nicholas Hyett, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘Aviva’s never been a terribly coherent whole.
‘It’s not that the various businesses are incompatible, just that they’re not terrible complementary and have always been run pretty much independently.’
Although Aviva decided to pay a 6p dividend, after cutting the payout earlier this year due to the pandemic, Blanc raised the prospect that dividends would be lower in future as the company tries to pay down debt.