Aviva 

Aviva to buy Irish insurer in £116m deal

Aviva to buy Irish insurer in £116m deal

Aviva has agreed to buy Irish insurer Friends First Life Assurance in a £116m deal.

The deal will make Aviva one of the largest insurers in Ireland, taking its market share in life insurance to 15 per cent, alongside its 15 per cent market share in general insurance.

Friends First, which is currently owned by Dutch insurer Achmea Holding NV, has been operating in Ireland for more than 180 years and focuses on life protection, pension and investment products for individuals and companies.

It has more than 250,000 clients and a market share of more than 6 per cent.

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 business."

Mr Tulloch said Aviva Ireland had demonstrated consistent growth in recent years, with an operating profit growth for the first half of 2017 at 12 per cent.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval but is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2018.

damian.fantato@ft.com

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