UK insurer Aviva to exit Taiwan market

UK insurer Aviva said today its decision to sell its 49 per cent stake in a Taiwan joint venture to its partner First Financial Holding conformed to its strategy of withdrawing from less profitable markets.

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

With the sale, Aviva would be able to withdraw its capital from the business, following low returns after the financial crisis, she added.

Aviva said in a statement that the decision came following a review which found the business did not fit with the group's aim of focusing on markets where it could achieve scale or have a distinct competitive advantage.

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

Also, the insurer 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 the UK and Canada.

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

According to the insurer, the sale would not have any significant impact on Aviva's capital position and operating profit.

''We have refocused Aviva's Asian business on core markets where we have excellent opportunities to grow,'' said Chris Wei, executive chairman of Aviva Asia and global chairman of Aviva Digital, reported. ''With our strong partners and our digital focus, we are intent on disrupting the traditional insurance market.''

The transaction however remains subject to approval with expected completion in 2018.