Axa profit down on life sale losses

FRENCH insurer Axa saw its 2010 profits cut by almost a quarter after losing €1.64bn (£1.38bn) from the sale of part of its UK life business last year, it said yesterday.

Profit fell 24 per cent to €2.75bn from €3.6bn after it sold the majority of its life business to closed-end life manager Resolution for £2.75bn last June to better focus its UK work.

But Europe’s second-biggest insurer said it would raise its dividend 25 per cent to €0.69 this year due to a better business environment in 2011.

“2010 was also characterised by significant strategic moves and organisational changes,” said Axa chief executive Henri de Castries.

Axa’s group revenues were flat at €90.97bn, as were its underlying earnings, which rose to €3.88bn from €3.85bn in 2009.