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Satisfied with results amid 'market volatility': Aviva

Insurance giant Aviva posted a drop in 2015 profit after tax on Thursday but the company's chief executive said the results were "highly satisfactory" as they came amid a "backdrop of market volatility."

Full-year profit after tax was £1.079 billion ($1.53 billion), down 38 percent from £1.738 billion the year before. However. operating profit before tax rose 20 percent to £2.7 billion ($3.83 billion).

For its general insurance and health business, Aviva reported a full-year operating profit of £765 million in 2015, down from £808 million a year ago, representing a 5 percent decline.

It raised the total dividend per share to 20.8 pence from 18.1 pence in the previous year. Aviva was one of the best performers on the Stoxx 600 index, trading around 5 percent higher.

Deutsche Bank equity analyst Oliver Steel said that "Aviva has produced very strong results - particularly in terms of the balance sheet."

"Given the strength of the result, we reiterate our Buy recommendation," Steel added in a note on Thursday following the results.

Aviva France's head office in Paris.
Aviva
Aviva France's head office in Paris.

Chief executive Mark Wilson told CNBC that the results were about "growth and stability among this backdrop of market volatility."

"It's beaten the consensus pretty much across the board, our operating profit is up 20 percent, our value of new business – our key measure of sales – is up 24 percent and now that's 12 consecutive quarters of growth."

"So, all in all, I think a highly satisfactory set of results."

The insurer's CEO also told CNBC that the group was strengthening its response to tighter regulation in the industry.The solvency II ratio is a solvency capital requirement that was introduced by the EU in 2009. It requires insurers and reinsurers to hold a certain amount of capital to ensure that quantifiable risks taken on by the companies are taken into account.

"In the insurance industry generally, the Solvency II has been a massive overhang for some time," Wilson said.

"We are pretty satisfied where we've come out it clearly more than the market was expecting today….Aviva has probably gone from having one of the weaker balance sheets around three years ago to one of the most resilient."

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