Aviva agrees stake sale in Hong Kong’s Blue

November 21 2019 by Andrew Tjaardstra

Aviva has decided to sell its stake in Hong Kong digital player Blue to its fellow shareholder Hillhouse Capital for an undisclosed sum.

The UK insurer has a 40% stake in Blue, while global private equity house Hillhouse Capital owns 40% and Chinese giant Tencent has the remaining 20%; Blue started selling life policies in the Special Administration Region last year.

Earlier this month, Charles Hung, chief executive of Blue, told InsuranceAsia News: “The industry needs revolution and the consumers need alternatives. Direct digital penetration in Hong Kong is less than 1%.”

Meanwhile Aviva said it is also in discussions over its joint venture (JV) in Indonesia and Vietnam; the company earlier this week announced that it will keep its stake in its China JV and also its Singapore operation, despite talks with potential buyers.

During its Capital Markets Day on November 20 in London, the insurer issued the following statement: “We have agreed the sale of our stake in our Hong Kong joint venture, Blue, to our partner Hillhouse Capital, and we are in discussions with our partners in relation to our business in Vietnam and joint venture in Indonesia.”

Aviva’s chief executive Maurice Tulloch agreed to review its Asia businesses earlier in the year.

He has promised to produce a better business and has already promised to cut £1.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) of debt and shave £300 million (US$387 million) a year off the cost base by cutting 1,800 jobs.

Globally the insurer is streamlining to the following divisions: investments; savings & retirement; UK life; general insurance; Europe life and Asia life.