Aviva sells stake in French joint venture for £425m



Aviva has disposed of its 50% stake in the French life insurance joint venture Antarius for £425m.

The company has sold its shareholding to Sogecap, a subsidiary of Société Générale, which owns the remainder of the shareholding through another separate subsidiary, Credit du Nord.

The agreement follows Crédit du Nord's decision in 2015 to exercise its option to purchase Aviva's shareholding in Antarius.

The EDP/EADT Top 100 company, which employs around 5,000 people in Norwich, said no Aviva staff would be affected.

Mark Wilson, Aviva's group chief executive officer, said: 'This is a good deal at an attractive valuation and the sale realises a strong return for our shareholders. We have also agreed a new investment management mandate with Antarius and we look forward to continuing our long and successful partnership with Société Générale.'

Aviva acquired a 50% stake in Antarius in 2004 in a 12-year distribution agreement to sell life insurance and protection products on an exclusive basis via Crédit du Nord's network, with Crédit du Nord having an option to purchase Aviva's shareholding.

The fee represents approximately 1.7 times Aviva's share of the net asset value of Antarius and 16.4 times Aviva's share of the earnings after tax of Antarius. The transaction price increases Aviva's Solvency II capital by about £200m.

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In addition, Aviva Investors France has entered into a new agreement with Sogecap to continue managing in excess of €10bn assets held by Antarius.

All regulatory approvals for the transaction have been received and completion of the deal is expected on April 1.

Aviva provides life, health and general insurance and investments products to three million customers in France.