London: British insurer Aviva reported a forecast-beating 26% increase in its 2010 profit, helped by stronger sales of high-margin life policies. Aviva, Britain’s second-biggest insurer by market value, said it made a 2010 operating profit of £2.55 billion ($4.16 billion), up from £2.022 billion the previous year.
Analysts had expected a profit of £2.445 billion, according to the company’s own calculation of consensus expectations.
“By focusing on what we do best in the markets where we have strength and scale, we will continue to prosper in 2011,” chief executive Andrew Moss said in a statement on Thursday.
Aviva has been cutting costs, paying off debt and focusing on cash generation in an effort to improve shareholder returns.
Aviva shares closed at 449.7 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at about £12.7 billion.
The company is paying a total dividend of 25.5 pence per share, an increase of 6%.