Standard Life sells Canadian business for £2.2bn

Life and pensions giant Standard Life is to hand shareholders a £1.75 billion windfall after announcing the £2.2bn sale of its Canadian business.

The return of capital, equivalent to 73p a share, will depend on investors giving their approval for the sale of the division to Canadian insurer Manulife. Subject to the sale getting the green light, the transaction is expected to complete in the first quarter of next year.

Standard Life chief executive David Nish said: “We have transformed our Canadian operations into a business which has consistently delivered strong results, contributing to the overall success of the group.

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“As a result, the Canadian business is now a much more attractive proposition and the sale allows us to realise fully the value of the business for our shareholders.”

Edinburgh-based Standard Life has had a presence in Canada for more than 180 years, and the business – which has assets under administration of £30.1bn – currently employs more than 2,100 staff. The sale includes Standard Life Investments’ domestic operations in the country.

Manulife chief executive Donald Guloien said: “Several months ago, Standard Life decided to explore the sale of its Canadian operations through a competitive process. We are delighted to be named the successful bidder.”