UK insurer Aviva has reduced its stake in its Dutch subsidiary Delta Lloyd Group to approximately 43% of the issued ordinary share capital, raising gross cash proceeds of £381m.

The offering comprises 25 million Delta Lloyd ordinary shares, at a price of EUR17.25 per share, equivalent to 15.1% of the issued ordinary share capital and 14% of Delta Lloyd’s voting rights.

Aviva said that offering will result in the deconsolidation of Delta Lloyd in its financial statements, which will reduce Aviva’s net asset value and is line with its strategy of prioritizing investment in 12 markets, which excludes the Benelux region.

The British insurer added that the cash proceeds from the sale will be held on the group’s balance sheet as cash and cash equivalents, which will enhance the group’s liquidity and will be used for general corporate purposes.

Aviva expects that the sale will strengthen the balance sheet, reduces the exposure to Delta Lloyd’s investment portfolio and allows the group to redeploy the capital away from the Benelux region.

Aviva group chief executive Andrew Moss said that this is an important step in delivering the strategy.

"Reducing our shareholding in Delta Lloyd will not only enhance our liquidity and further strengthen our balance sheet but is also consistent with our focus on pursuing profitable growth in markets where we have strength and scale," Moss said.

Delta Lloyd Group said in a statement that this reduction is in line with its wish for greater strategic and financial independence from Aviva.

The insurer said the settlement conditional on the approval of its extraordinary general meeting expected on 4 May 2011.

Prior to November 2009, Delta Lloyd’s entire issued ordinary share capital (and 92% of Delta Lloyd’s voting rights) was owned by CGU International Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviva.

In November 2009, Aviva completed the initial public offering and partial sale of its shareholding in Delta Lloyd, pursuant to which Aviva disposed of its indirect 41.1% interest in the ordinary share capital of Delta Lloyd.