Shares in Aviva (LON:AV) have slipped into the red in today’s session as the blue-chip insurer revealed that its operating profit had fallen in the first half of the year. The company, however, hiked its payout to shareholders and noted that it was on track to achieve its financial targets.
As of 12:38 BST, Aviva’s share price had given up 1.35 percent to 488.90p, largely in line with losses in the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 1.27 percent lower at 7,556.04 points. The group’s shares have lost just under 10 percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a two-percent gain in the Footsie.
Aviva posts profit drop
Aviva announced in a statement today that its operating profit had dropped two percent to £1.44 billion in the first half of the year. The insurer’s IFRS profit after tax meanwhile fell to £376 million as compared with £716 million in the prior-year period. The company, however, reported a four-percent rise in earnings per share and hiked its dividend by 10 percent.
“During these choppy market conditions, it is reassuring that Aviva’s results are consistent, dependable and growing,” the FTSE 100 group’s chief executive Mark Wilson commented in the statement. The blue-chip insurer further reassured investors of its confidence in delivering its target of greater than five-percent operating earnings per share growth in the current year.
Analysts on blue-chip group
The 17 analysts offering 12-month price targets for Aviva for the Financial Times have a median target of 581.00p on the shares, with a high estimate of 636.00p and a low estimate of 495.00p. As of July 27, the consensus forecast amongst 19 polled investment analysts covering the blue-chip insurer has it that the company will outperform the market.