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Aviva says Dutch joint venture to continue

Aviva, Britain's biggest insurer, said its joint venture with state-owned ABN AMRO in the Netherlands would continue after the Dutch government reversed a decision by ABN's previous owner to end the deal.

The Dutch state, which acquired ABN AMRO's Dutch unit as part of the government rescue of Belgian-Dutch bank Fortis late last year, has agreed to maintain the joint venture, Aviva said in a statement on Thursday.

While under Fortis' ownership, ABN AMRO had said it would exercise its right to buy Aviva out of the venture with a view to merging it with Fortis' Dutch insurance operations.

Aviva holds 51% of the business, known as ABN AMRO Insurance, through its Dutch subsidiary, Delta Lloyd.

ABN AMRO Insurance, which has 1 million customers in the Netherlands, generated Ł172 million ($259.2 million) in sales for Delta Lloyd in the first nine months of 2008, an increase of 20% on the same period a year earlier, Aviva said.

“This is an excellent outcome,” Aviva chief executive Andrew Moss said in a statement.

“The continuation of a newly re-energized joint venture with a leading bank in the Netherlands will enhance Delta Lloyd's position in bancassurance.”

The joint venture will run for the remaining 24 years of the originally agreed 30 year term, Aviva said. (Reuters)