By Michael Susin

 

Aviva PLC reported on Wednesday an increase in operating profit for the first half of 2022, backed its dividend guidance for the full year and outlined further plans for capital returns.

The FTSE 100 insurer posted an operating profit for the six-month period of 829 million pounds ($1 billion), up from GBP725 million for the year-earlier period, citing the benefits of a diversified business model in a challenging environment.

However, the company reported a swing to pretax loss of GBP798 million compared with a profit of GBP277 million for the same period a year earlier amid a challenging economic backdrop.

Net loss came in at GBP644 million compared with a loss of GBP232 million for the same period a year earlier.

The U.K. company had gross written premiums of GBP8.88 billion, rising from GBP8.27 billion for the same period a year earlier.

The company's Solvency II ratio--which represents capital strength--as at June 30 stood at 234%, compared with 203% a year earlier.

The board declared an interim dividend of 10.3 pence, up from the 7.35 pence a share declared the same period a year earlier, and backed its final dividend guidance of around 31.0 pence a share for 2022.

Aviva anticipated that it will start a share buyback program together with its 2022 results.

"Assuming a new buyback is agreed, its size will be determined by the board at year end and will take account of the financial position at that time, as well as both the drivers of the capital surplus and our preference to return surplus capital regularly and sustainably," it added.

The company added that it remains well-positioned to drive growth despite a challenging economic environment, and that it is focused to achieve its cost reduction target of GBP750 million by 2024.

Shares at 0703 GMT were up 15.1 pence, or 3.6%, at 429.4 pence.

 

Write to Michael Susin at michael.susin@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 10, 2022 03:28 ET (07:28 GMT)

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