October 13, 2017 / 10:14 AM / 7 days ago

Aviva to sell Taiwan business to local partner for $1

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past an Aviva logo outside the company's head office in the city of London, Britain, March 5, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British insurer Aviva said on Friday its decision to sell its 49 percent stake in a Taiwan joint venture to its partner First Financial Holding fits into its strategy of withdrawing from less profitable markets.

Aviva declined to put a price tag on the sale, but Annie Lee, head of investor relations at Taiwan’s First Financial, said Aviva sold its share in the joint venture, First Aviva Life, for $1.

The sale enables Aviva to withdraw its capital from the business, following low returns after the financial crisis, she added.

The decision came after a review of the business found it did not fit with the group’s aim of focusing on markets where it can achieve scale or have a distinct competitive advantage, Aviva said in a statement.

“This was not about financials, it was more a strategic decision,” an Aviva spokeswoman said.

The insurer has also this year sold its stake in three Spanish joint ventures, its Italian joint venture and part of its French business, as it tries to focus on core markets including Britain and Canada.

It has also said it would look at its Indian joint venture with Dabur Invest Corp.

The sale of the Taiwan business will have a negligible impact on Aviva’s capital position and operating profit, the insurer said.

Aviva previously looked at exiting Taiwan in 2010 and 2012, but opted not to in the face of opposition from regulators.

Aviva’s shares were trading at 499.4 pence at 0841 GMT, down 0.1 percent.

Reporting by Clara Denina and Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Adrian Croft

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