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Aviva sets February deadlines for $6.6 bln disposals in France and Poland -sources

LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - British insurer Aviva has set deadlines in late February to receive final offers for its operations in France and Poland that are worth an overall 5.5 billion euros ($6.67 billion), three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Aviva has already secured indicative bids from a series of industry heavyweights and wants to wrap up the sale of both units by the end of the first quarter, the sources said. They spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is confidential.

The London-based insurer, led by boss Amanda Blanc, is expected to sell its French business for about 3.5 billion euros while the Polish operations are valued at roughly 2 billion euros, the sources said.

The sale is a central part of Blanc’s turnaround plan aimed at shifting the insurer’s focus to its core operations in Britain, Canada and Ireland after a prolonged period of share price weakness that has irked investors.

Aviva declined to comment on the sale but confirmed it was exploring strategic options across its portfolio, including in France and Poland.

Dutch insurer NN Group, Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali and Germany’s Allianz are among a group of bidders vying for Aviva’s Polish business and facing a deadline of Feb. 26 to submit final offers, the sources said.

French mutual insurer Groupe Macif is dominating the French auction, with a 3.5 billion euro indicative bid and is working on a final proposal ahead of a Feb. 22 deadline, two of the sources said.

The bidding field for Aviva France also includes investment firm Eurazeo and life insurance specialist Athora, which is backed by private equity house Apollo and is no longer teaming up with Allianz, the sources said.

Eurazeo, NN Group, Allianz and Generali declined to comment while Macif and Athora were not immediately available.

$1 = 0.8249 euros Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London; additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn, Alex Huebner, Gwenaelle Barzic and Toby Sterling; editing by Barbara Lewis

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