Pre-tax profits at global insurance giant Aviva took a 30% hit during the first half of the year standing at just over £1bn as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, according to its H1 results.
The pre-tax profit for the group was £1.07bn in H1 2020 compared to just over £1.5bn in the same period in 2019. This was a fall of 29%, the firm's half year results showed.
Aviva's newly appointed chief executive Amanda Blanc, pictured above, has been in the job for a month. She replaced former CEO Maurice Tulloch who stepped down for family health reasons.
Where we cannot meet our strategic objectives, we will take decisive action and we will withdraw capital". Aviva's CEO Amanda Blanc
Blanc said of the results: "Aviva's financial performance in the first half of 2020 was solid. Our financial position is strong and operating profit of £1.2bn was robust, thanks to our diverse range of products, excellent partners and our swift operational response to the Covid-19 pandemic. I am proud of the way our people have gone above and beyond to help our customers during this crisis."
She said the board had declared a second interim dividend in respect of the 2019 financial year of six pence per share.
Blanc added: "While the board continues to monitor the impact of covid-19 and the economic outlook, we have decided to take the opportunity to review our longer term dividend policy, in light of our strategic priorities and the future shape of the group, with the objective of a sustainable pay-out and lower levels of debt.
"We will update shareholders on all dividend matters, including the 2019 final dividend in the fourth quarter."
Blanc also said Aviva would focus on its strongest businesses in the UK, Ireland and Canada and "where we cannot meet our strategic objectives, we will take decisive action and we will withdraw capital".
"We must transform our performance and improve our efficiency. This requires great customer service, stronger innovation and better use of our brand. Our transformation will be underpinned by continuing to manage our balance sheet prudently, reducing debt and increasing our financial resilience.
"I have been CEO for one month and I am confident we have many of the ingredients to make Aviva a winner. From this moment on, we must deliver. Nothing else will do. My focus is making sure it happens and at pace."
This article first appeared in International Investment's sister title Professional Adviser