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Profits soar at British insurer Aviva

LONDON, March 3, 2011 – British insurer Aviva on Thursday said profits soared by more than a third last year, after a jump in life and pension sales, and expressed confidence on the outlook for 2011.

Earnings after tax jumped 35 percent to £1.46 billion ($2.38 billion, 1.72 billion euros) in 2010 from £1.1 billion in 2009, the company said in a results statement.

Aviva, Britain\’s second largest insurer after Prudential, said total life and pensions sales rose 4.2 percent to £33.36 billion.

Operating profit climbed 26 percent to £2.55 billion, which was roughly in line with market expectations, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

"We\’ve gone from strength to strength in 2010. In a tough external environment, we\’ve outperformed," chief executive Andrew Moss said in the statement.

"Operating profits are up 26 percent and we are able to reinvest in the business and pay a healthy and growing dividend.

"Over the last few years, we\’ve grown the business, significantly reduced costs and strengthened the balance sheet. As a result, we\’ve created a good platform for the next phase of growth.

"We have a clear strategy and we are meeting our customers\’ needs. By focusing on what we do best in the markets where we have strength and scale, we will continue to prosper in 2011."

The company declared a shareholder dividend of 25.6 pence a share, up from 24 pence previously.

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