Aviva Plc confirmed it’s examining options for its Asian business as new Chief Executive Officer Maurice Tulloch’s turnaround of the U.K.’s only insurance conglomerate takes shape.
The firm confirmed earlier reports on the Asian unit, while giving no further detail as part of its half-year earnings. Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that the assets could be valued at about $3 billion to $4 billion.
“Our review will garner whether our current strategy and ownership structure is optimal and helping our businesses to reach their full potential,” Tulloch said on a call. The CEO said he would unveil his plans for Aviva’s international business at an investor day in November.
The shares rose as much as 2.4% in London trading, the most in a month, and were up about 1.3% to 387 pence at 9:08 a.m. in London.
Operating profit climbed 1% to 1.45 billion pounds ($1.76 billion) in the first half of 2019, according to a statement on Thursday, slightly ahead of a company-compiled consensus forecast.
Tulloch, who took over in March, is seeking to turn around Aviva after years of stagnation. The shares have slumped more than 30% since the firm bought Friends Life Group Ltd. in 2015, a deal that increased the company’s share of the pensions market but added complexity to the group.
The firm’s asset management business, Aviva Investors, saw net outflows of almost 5 billion pounds in the first half, reflecting a sluggish start to the year for money managers across Europe, despite a rebound in markets. The unit now manages 346 billion pounds. Standard Life Aberdeen Plc and Schroders Plc have also seen outflows as active managers come under pressure from low-fee passive products.
Operating expenses were 2% higher at 1.96 billion pounds, as it begins work on Tulloch’s goal to cut 300 million pounds a year by 2022. Plans are in place to save around half that amount over the next three years, and the company had already saved 25 million pounds, Tulloch said on the call.
Aviva raised its interim dividend to 9.5 pence from 9.25 pence a year ago.
The firm gave no update on its new chief financial officer. The insurer announced in June that Jason Windsor would act as a stopgap CFO following the departure of Tom Stoddard.
(Adds Tulloch comments and more detail from third paragraph.)