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Business Comment

Simon English: This Aviva turnaround seems a long time coming


Outlook One reason for the Pru's belief in its own excellence is the endless strife endured across town at its arch-rival, Aviva.

Mr Thiam used to work there, but it isn't his fault that Aviva remains a business perpetually in the midst of a turnaround, permanently promising returns rather than delivering them.

Tell Aviva shareholders that the we're in the middle of a bull market in equities, that shares and dividend payments at large companies are booming and get a look like they are sucking lemons (which they are, in a way).

Aviva stock was well over 1,000p in 2001, before the former chief executive Andrew Moss unveiled his One Aviva, Twice the Value slogan, a strategy which soon halved the share price.

It's now a year since Mr Moss was turfed out, so he can't be blamed for too much longer. The shares are still below 300p, roughly where they were when he left.

Aviva is on the up, though. It is going to get it right. Any day now.