Aviva reports better than expected profits

Aviva said the integration of Friends Life is a year ahead of schedule

Aviva said the integration of Friends Life is a year ahead of schedule

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​I​nsurer Aviva posted an above forecast 20 per​ ​cent rise in 2015 operating profit to ​£​2.7​bn and said its integration plans with Friends Life ​a​re ahead of schedule.

Aviva​, which employs 2,000 people in York and 1,300 in Sheffield,​​​ bought rival Friends Life last year in a ​£​5.​6bn deal, creating a market leader in life insurance.

Analysts had expected Aviva's operating profit to come in at ​£​2.49​bn.

The life and general insurer said it w​ill​ achieve its target of ​£​225​m in integration synergies with Friends Life in 2016, one year ahead of schedul​e​ and it expect ​£​1.2​bn in capital synergies.

The company's combined operating ratio, a key measure of performance in its general insurance business, strengthened to 94.6 per​ ​cent, against a forecast of 96 per​ ​cent. A level below 100 per​ ​cent indicates an underwriting profit.

Aviva said its solvency capital ratio under new European rules for insurers was 180 per​ ​cent. A ratio of 100 per​ ​cent shows insurers have sufficient capital to cover underwriting, investment and operational risks.

The company said it would pay a final dividend of 14.05​p per share and total dividend of 20.8​p, up 15 per​ ​cent from 2014 but below a forecast of 21.2​p.