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[LONDON] British insurer Aviva posted an above-forecast 20 per cent rise in 2015 operating profit to 2.7 billion pounds (S$5.3 billion) on Thursday and said its integration plans with Friends Life were ahead of schedule.
Aviva bought rival Friends Life last year in a 5.6 billion pound deal, creating a market leader in life insurance.
Analysts in a company-supplied consensus forecast had expected Aviva's operating profit to come in at 2.49 billion pounds.
The life and general insurer said in a trading statement it would achieve its target of 225 million pounds in integration synergies with Friends Life in 2016, one year ahead of schedule, and that it expected 1.2 billion pounds in capital synergies.
The company's combined operating ratio, a key measure of performance in its general insurance business, strengthened to 94.6 per cent, against a forecast of 96 per cent. A level below 100 per cent indicates an underwriting profit.
Aviva said its solvency capital ratio under new European rules for insurers was 180 per cent. A ratio of 100 per cent shows insurers have sufficient capital to cover underwriting, investment and operational risks.
The company said it would pay a final dividend of 14.05 pence per share and total dividend of 20.8 pence, up 15 per cent from 2014 but below a forecast of 21.2 pence.