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March 4, 2021, 2:43 a.m. EST

Aviva profit falls on lower investment income

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By Ian Walker

Aviva PLC on Thursday reported a 32% fall in pretax profit for 2020 after booking lower investment income and said it expects to be able to make substantial returns to shareholders after a number of disposals over the year.

The FTSE 100-listed insurer made an IFRS pretax profit for the year ended Dec. 31 of 2.61 billion pounds ($3.64 billion) compared with GBP3.82 billion for 2019. Gross written premiums fell to GBP29.02 billion from GBP29.71 billion.

Adjusted operating profit--one of the company's preferred metrics, which strips out exceptional and other one-off items--fell to GBP3.16 billion from GBP3.18 billion for 2019.

It ended the year with a Solvency II ratio--a measure of capital strength--of 202% compared with 195% at Sept. 30 and 206% at Dec. 31, 2019. Its solvency II capital surplus stood at GBP13.0 billion, up from GBP11.8 billion at Sept. 30.

The insurer declared a final dividend of 14.0 pence a share, taking the total payout to 21.0 pence. It had guided for a final dividend for the year of 14.0 pence a share and said it expects to grow future dividends by low to mid-single digits over time. No final dividend was paid for 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but a second interim dividend of 6 pence a share was paid during the third quarter of 2020.

Write to Ian Walker at ian.walker@wsj.com

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