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23 June 2009

UK insurer plans expansion in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam

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UK insurer Aviva Plc is looking at expanding its business through acquisitions in three Southeast Asian countries, a move which could make up for its exit from the Australian life insurance business, Dow Jones newswire quoted the company as saying Monday.

"On new markets and expansion, Andrew Moss, our Chief Executive, has said that we will consider acquisitions where they make sense for our shareholders. I've said similar things about markets in Asia where we're not operating today," Aviva Asia-Pacific CEO Simon Machell told reporters.

"In particular, there's Indonesia, in particular Thailand and in particular, Vietnam.
They're all markets which we're looking at this point in time. So we continue to look at those markets. If we find something that makes sense for shareholders, then we'll do so," Machell said.

Earlier Monday in Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) said it has agreed to buy some of Aviva's Australian business, including the life insurance business, for A$825 million in cash.

Machell also said that the business environment in Asia looks "reasonably tough as we go through this year and into next year, particularly on the investment products side."

"We are seeing good sales of protection products and other products like health and some guarantee products, but it will take a little while for confidence to return to the investment products side of the business," he said.



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