France’s Axa disappoints investors with sales at low end of expectations

City A.M. Reporter
France’s AXA disappointed investors yesterday, unveiling first-quarter revenue growth that failed to match the upswing at a raft of US, Swiss and German rivals.

Insurers on both sides of the Atlantic have seen investment income shoot up in the first quarter on the back of buoyant financial markets, and many have also boosted sales of life and health policies, shrugging off an ongoing drag from the recession and consumers’ job worries.

AXA, Europe’s second largest insurer, reported that first-quarter revenue rose 1.1 per cent to £24.8bn, falling short of analysts’ average expectations and sending its shares sharply lower.

AXA, whose head of UK and Ireland is Nicolas Moreau, said life and savings new business sales on an annual premium equivalent (APE) basis – an industry measure used to iron out market volatility – rose 1.6 per cent. Property and casualty insurance sales rose 1.4 per cent.