Insurance giant Aviva is divesting itself of its 50% stake in two Italian businesses that offer life and general insurance products, selling its holding to the country’s third largest lender, Banco BPM.
Avipop Assicurazioni SpA was a joint venture between Aviva and Banco Popolare that was created in 2007 with the aim of selling high-street insurance policies through the bank’s network of branches.
Banco Popolare merged with Banco Popolare di Milano earlier this year to create BPM, the bank that has now bought Aviva’s share.
The sale has come about because, when Banco Popolare declined to renew the agreement to distribute the policies through its branch network this year, it triggered an automatic clause that allowed Aviva to exercise its option to sell.
Maurice Tulloch, chief executive of Aviva International Insurance (pictured left), said: “This transaction will realise value for Aviva shareholders and will allow us to invest further in our future growth.
“Aviva has momentum in Italy and I am confident about our prospects.
“We are now in a good position to grow our business further, with our partners and through digital.”
Last year, the joint venture produce £14m operating profit before tax.
Aviva will remain active in the Italian market, with joint ventures with UBI and UniCredit. Aviva Life SpA and Aviva Italia SpA will not be affected by this move, the company has said, and it will have distribution networks still in place with UBI Banca, Unicredit, Banca Popolare di Bari and other partners and agents.