Britain's Aviva to retain Singapore, China operations

Adds details, Aviva share price, background

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - British life and general insurer Aviva Plc AV.L will retain its operations in Singapore and China, it said on Monday, amid speculation of a sale of the Singapore business.

Aviva, which said earlier this year it was reviewing its Asia business and is due to unveil a strategy update this week under new CEO Maurice Tulloch, issued the statement in response to media speculation. It said it decided to retain its Singapore operations despite takeover offers.

The company, however, said it was looking at strategic options for its operations in Vietnam, Indonesia and Hong Kong, where the recent pro-democracy protests have threatened the territory's identity as one of Asia's major financial centres.

Sources familiar with the divestment plans told Reuters that very few bidders were interested in the Singapore business given the price tag and also as most of the global and regional insurers have an existing presence in Singapore.

Shares in the FTSE 100 company fell after the announcement, and were down 3.5% at the bottom of the index by 0834 GMT.

Bloomberg earlier reported that Japan's MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings 8725.T and Canada's Manulife Financial MFC.TO were looking to buy Aviva's assets in Singapore and Vietnam as the sale process enters its final stage.

(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru, Carolyn Cohn in London and Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, and Louise Heavens)

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