Expat Financial Firm Sold in £340m Deal

Loss-making expat financial provider Friends Provident International has been sold in a £340 million deal.

UK insurance giant Aviva picked up the brand when swooping on parent company Friends Life in a £500 million take-over in 2015.

Most of Friends Life has been swallowed by Aviva, but Friends Provident International proved not to be a good business fit.

The company posted a £2 million loss last year.

RL360 Holding Company, a subsidiary of International Finance Group, New York, has bought Friends Provident, which operates selling life insurance and investments to more than 160,00 customers serviced by 500 staff across the Middle East and Asia.

Digital and disruptive plans

Following a strategic review, Aviva decided the business is not central to the group strategy, which targets a small number of markets where the firm has scale, profitability or a distinct competitive advantage.

Aviva booked a £130 million loss on the deal.

Chris Wei, executive chairman of Aviva Asia & Friends Provident, said: “The sale of Friends Provident International is a good outcome for Aviva. It allows us to focus on the significant opportunities we have to grow Aviva’s business across Asia through digital channels and disrupting the traditional insurance industry.”

He added that Friends Provident will continue to trade as usual with no change to customer policies as a result of the sale.

The company has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and the Isle of Man.

More disposals on the way

Last year, Friends Provident paid £34.4 billion to customers as benefits and claims.

Aviva will spend the cash generated from the sale on brands in Europe, Asia and Canada.

The company is a leading provider in the UK, with products sold to one in four households.

Market watchers suggest Aviva is on the brink of making more disposals in India, Taiwan, Spain and Italy, where other businesses are also under review. Half a Spanish life and pensions business was sold for £399 million in May.

Aviva is also in the middle of a £300 million share buy-back program and has invested heavily in technology companies developing insurance-related products and services.

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Expat Financial Firm Sold in £340m Deal
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