(Adds detail, analyst, CEO comment)
LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - British insurer Aviva posted an 11 percent rise in operating profit in the first half of 2017 to 1.47 billion pounds ($1.94 billion), it said on Thursday, boosted by strong performances in its general insurance and fund management units.
Analysts in a company-supplied poll had forecast an operating profit of 1.45 billion pounds.
The company has been selling businesses it considers underperforming, including most recently Asia and Middle East-focused Friends Provident International and three Spanish joint ventures.
"Aviva is getting leaner and stronger and we are confident in our ability to sustain growth in the coming years," chief executive Mark Wilson said.
Aviva Investors' operating profit rose 45 percent to 71 million pounds and the firm's general insurance business saw a 25 percent rise in operating profit to 417 million. Aviva's life business' operating profit rose 8 percent to 1.3 billion pounds.
"Aviva is transforming its 'no growth' businesses to 'organic growth' businesses," said analysts at JP Morgan, reiterating their overweight rating on the stock.
Aviva also announced a 10-year extension of its UK general insurance distribution agreement with HSBC, which it said was one of the largest ever in UK insurance.
Combined operating ratio for the firm's general insurance business strengthened to 94.5 percent from 95.7 percent, where a level below 100 percent indicates an underwriting profit.
The company said it would pay an interim dividend of 8.4 pence per share, up 13 percent and compared with a forecast 8.28 pence. ($1 = 0.7560 pounds) (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)