Aviva makes £116m deal to buy Irish insurance rival Friends First
Insurance giant Aviva has swooped for Irish rival Friends First in a £116 million deal that would make it one of Ireland’s largest insurers.
The FTSE 100 group said the takeover would bolster its share of the life insurance market to 15%, with hopes of further growth as the Irish economy accelerates.
Aviva, which has 33 million customers, said it dovetailed with its strategy to make “bolton” acquisitions in areas where it has a significant operation or a competitive advantage.
It added that the Irish economy had mounted a “robust recovery” and the prospect for further growth “remained strong”.
Maurice Tulloch, chief executive of Aviva International Insurance, said: “Friends First is a natural fit for Aviva Ireland.
“The acquisition will enhance Aviva Ireland’s product offering and accelerate our international growth agenda. It makes sense financially, strategically and for our customers.
“Our Irish business has been among the best performers in the Aviva group over the last couple of years.
“This acquisition underlines Aviva’s disciplined approach to deploying capital into bolt-on acquisitions that meet our strict financial criteria and strengthen our businesses.”
Aviva expects the takeover to be completed by the first quarter of next year, subject to being approved by regulators.
Friends First has more than 250,000 customers and provides life protection, pension and investment products.
Aviva has a major operating unit at Pitheavlis, Perth.