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The FTSE 100’s Hottest Growth Stocks: Aviva plc

Today I am outlining why Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) could be considered a terrific stock for growth hunters.

Emerging regions underpin electric growth potential

Following impressive transformation work, the much leaner and Aviva is an unrecognisable beast from the lumbering hulk that saw earnings smashed by the financial meltdown of five years ago.

Not only has the business undertaken vast cost-saving exercises to enhance the bottom line, but it has also engaged in a flurry of asset sales avivaduring the past few years to reduce risk and bulk up the balance sheet, most notably the shedding of its Aviva USA subsidiary for £1.7bn last October. And Aviva has advised that there is still plenty left in the tank in its expense-slashing drive.

Meanwhile the insurer’s heavy exposure to new markets is prompting new custom to surge through the door, and Aviva saw the value of new business rise 9% during January-June to £453m.

While the impact of this year’s budget has harmed its domestic markets more recently, a renewed focus on red-hot emerging markets has helped drive revenues higher and promises to turbocharge the firm’s long-term growth outlook. New business values from Asia, Turkey and Poland galloped 54% higher during the first half, and now account for 25% of the group total versus under a fifth just a year ago

Plenty of bang at pleasing prices

Aviva took a long time to recover from the fallout of the 2008/2009 banking catastrophe, posting three years of successive earnings declines before finally printing a loss of 11.2p per share in 2012.

But the life insurance giant’s restructuring programme saw it bounce back into the black last year with earnings of 22p. And City brokers expect the business to maintain this strong momentum in the medium term at least, with growth of 114% and 10% — to 47p and 51.7p — pencilled in for 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Such figures generate delicious P/E multiples of 11.4 and 10.3 for these years, easily surpassing a prospective average of 14.3 for the entire life insurance sector and which is comfortably below the generally-considered benchmark of 15 that illustrates reasonable bang for your buck.

And Aviva’s brilliant growth potential relative to the current share price is underlined by ultra-low price to earnings to growth (PEG) through to the end of next year — indeed, figures of 0.1 for 2014 and 1 for 2015 are encamped within the bargain territory of 1 or under.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.