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Aviva Sigorta Surges as EMF Capital Buys Turkish Unit

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March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Aviva Sigorta A.S. surged in Istanbul trading after a private-equity group led by EMF Capital Partners agreed to buy the general insurer.

The shares jumped 11 percent to 3.12 lira, the biggest gain since September and valuing the Istanbul-based company at 468 million lira ($209 million). The stock has still tumbled 19 percent this year. No price was disclosed for the sale, which is expected to be completed in the first half of this year.

“This agreement is part of Aviva’s strategy to narrow the group’s focus on businesses where it has a leadership position and can generate attractive returns,” London-based Aviva Plc said in a statement. Aviva, the parent company, rose as much as 1.3 percent in London trading.

Aviva Plc Chief Executive Officer Mark Wilson is selling assets and cutting costs to rebuild the insurer’s capital depleted by the financial crisis and shrink a 4.1 billion-pound ($6.8 billion) loan. He sold a 39 percent stake in an Italian life insurer to JC Flowers & Co. in November.

Aviva said its Turkish life and pensions unit, AvivaSA is unaffected by today’s transaction. The company and its partner, Haci Omer Sabanci Holding AS, hired Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc for an initial public offering of the unit, three people with knowledge of the matter said in November.

The acquisition of Aviva Sigorta “is a key milestone in the development of EMF’s strategy in Turkey,” CEO Peter Lovas said in a statement. The investment group led by London-based EMF also includes German development bank DEG and Dutch development bank FMO.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net Steve Bailey

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