The insurer said it has continued to grow it’s life and savings business, spurred on by “our profitable protection & health and capital light savings businesses”, it said on a statement on Thursday.
Last year, Axa set out plans to leave the UK life and savings market, culminating in the sale of its Isle of Man-based offshore investment bonds business to Life Company Consolidation Group (LCCG) in April and its UK platform business Elevate to Standard Life.
Axa Isle of Man has since rebranded as international life company as Utmost Wealth Solutions.
No Generali bid
Speaking to the FT, Buberl dismissed speculation that it was looking to buy Generali’s German life unit as part of a break-up process that would follow the possible acquisition of Generali by Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo.
“Small M&A makes no sense, but very large M&A makes no sense either, as we already have global scale,” he told the publication at a results’ briefing.
Buberl, who became chief executive of the group last year, added that Axa is looking to acquire businesses worth between €1bn and €3bn.
However, he pointed out that the insurer would focus on health insurance, property and casualty insurance, and businesses in Asia.
Axa’s underlying earnings grew 4% to €5.7bn, despite “continued low interest rates and market volatility”, said the insurer in a statement on Thursday.
“We are on track on the headline targets of our Ambition 2020 plan, focusing on the execution of clear management levers, and pursuing the transformation of the group,” it said, reporting €6.2bn of operating free cash flows.
However, there was an 8% fall in profits from Axa’s asset management businesses because of a one-off tax hit and lost business from Friends Life, reports the FT.
The UK insurer was a client of Axa Investment Management until it was bought by Aviva in 2015.
Meanwhile, Generali is fighting off a potential bid by Intesa Sanpaolo which, if successful, would reshape Italy’s financial industry by combining the country’s second-biggest bank with its largest insurer.