Aug 12, 2021

Aviva to return £4bn to shareholders after selling eight businesses

Aviva said it would return at least £4bn to shareholders by next June following an overhaul under its new chief executive, in which it agreed to sell eight businesses in eight months. Aviva increased its interim dividend by 5 per cent to 7.35p. The promised capital return, which includes a £750m buyback to start immediately, was within the range of estimates provided by analysts, but is set to fall short of the £5bn demanded by Cevian, Europe's largest activist investor, which revealed in June that it had built a stake to become Aviva's second-largest shareholder. Aviva said on Thursday that it was on target to deliver £300m of annual savings. A person familiar with the matter said the activist was pushing Aviva to streamline its management structure but was not pushing for a board seat. Before the activist disclosed its stake, Aviva had already promised a "Substantial" return of capital, without putting a number on it, after announcing a series of disposals that left it focused on three core markets: the UK, Ireland and Canada.

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