24th May 2023 15:35
(Alliance News) - Activist investor Cevian Capital has sold almost its entire stake in Aviva PLC, three years after first snapping up shares in the insurance giant.
The hedge fund sold its stake in Aviva down to 60,000 shares on Wednesday, having built up a holding of 6.5%, or 150 million shares, at its peak last October.
It first took a stake in Aviva in 2020 and has since put the group and Chief Executive Amanda Blanc under intense pressure, demanding that the insurer boost its return to investors to more than GBP5 billion.
Aviva hit that target earlier this year and at its full year results in March, it launched a further GBP300 million share buyback, an increased final dividend payout and upgraded its dividend outlook.
Cevian had already sold down its stake to just under 5% in February.
On its latest stake sale, Cevian reportedly said Aviva had been "transformed from a poorly performing conglomerate to a focused and well-performing insurance company".
It comes as Aviva's first quarter update showed an 11% jump in general insurance premiums to GBP2.4 billion.
The company also said it was on track to meet its target to cut GBP750 million of costs by 2024.
But shares fell 5.6% to 399.90 pence in London on Wednesday afternoon, as the market saw the results as being mixed, with Aviva's net flows into its wealth arm down by 15% year-on-year to GBP2.3 billion.
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