Aviva has announced that operating profit remained stable at £3.16bn in its latest full-year results, down only £23m from 2019 despite the “negative impacts” of the ongoing pandemic.
In addition, the group revealed its core market profits fell by just 3% year-on-year to £2.49bn.
Alongside its latest results, the group confirmed the sale of its remaining Italian Life and General Insurance businesses for €873m (£754m), noting that the sale to high quality buyers is a “positive outcome for our customers, employees, distributors and shareholders”.
The sale follows on from similar deals in France, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Turkey, as Aviva continues to streamline its operations to focus on the UK, Ireland, and Canada.
Amanda Blanc, CEO at Aviva, said: “2020 was a year of significant change for Aviva. We have taken major steps forward in simplifying the business, most recently with the sale of Aviva France and today’s announcement of the sale of the rest of our Italian operations.
“Our performance in 2020 demonstrates the resilience of our core businesses and our growth potential. We delivered record sales in group protection; record sales of bulk purchase annuities; and record net flows in savings and retirement.”
Looking ahead, the group expects to achieve a debt reduction of £1.7bn in H1 2021 as it follows a cash generation strategy for its core markets.
Blanc added that Aviva is “financially strong following the completion of the major debt disposals”, as well as an £800m debt tender offer, and can therefore “make a substantial return of capital” to its shareholders.