Aviva makes £116m deal to buy Ir­ish in­sur­ance ri­val Friends First

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - BUSINESS -

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.

Pic­ture: Kim Cess­ford.

Aviva has a ma­jor op­er­at­ing unit at Pitheavlis, Perth.

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