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Standard Life Aberdeen to return as much as 1.75 billion pounds to investors

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By Ben Martin

LONDON (Reuters) – Standard Life Aberdeen <SLA.L> plans to return as much as 1.75 billion pounds to its shareholders in the wake of the sale of its insurance business to Phoenix Group <PHNX.L>.

The investment company aims to hand back 1 billion pounds through a B share scheme and up to 750 million pounds via a share buyback, it said on Tuesday. An investor meeting to approve the plan is expected to be convened on June 25.

It comes after SLA struck the 3.2 billion-pound deal to offload its insurance operations in February in a move that will focus the firm on savings and investment products.

The sale to Phoenix is expected to complete in the third quarter and will allow SLA to exit the insurance industry, which is now wrestling with tougher capital rules following the introduction of Europe’s Solvency II regulations.

“The last year has been a period of significant change for Standard Life Aberdeen with the proposed sale of the UK and European insurance businesses completing our transformation to a capital-light investment company,” Sir Gerry Grimstone, SLA’s Chairman, said.

“The cash generated from the sale will enable us to continue to invest in the development of our business and also to return surplus capital to shareholders.”

SLA is due to hold its annual shareholder meeting later on Tuesday.

($1 = 0.7510 pounds)

(Reporting by Ben Martin, editing by Sinead Cruise)

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