French insurance giant Axa today said an uptick in earnings, driven by higher incomes from its investment portfolio, offset the €300m (£251m) hit to its business arising from the war in Ukraine.
In reflecting its “robust performance,” Europe’s second biggest insurer vowed to buy back €1bn worth of its own shares from shareholders, after posting underlying earnings of €3.9bn in the first half of 2022, up four per cent compared to the previous year.
Axa’s decision to launch its €1bn share buyback scheme saw shares in the insurance giant surge by almost five per cent in the early morning trading session, as the firm set out plans to complete its buyback by February 2023, subject to market conditions.
The Parisian insurer’s “strong” first half results came after the firm’s gross revenues, for the first six months of 2022, increased by one per cent compared to the first half of last year, to heights of more than €55.1bn.
Axa’s higher revenues came on the back of a two per cent uptick in the insurance firm’s investment incomes, which saw it reap €6.2bn from its portfolio of investments in the first half of 2022.
The firm reported said it had bolstered the reserves of capital it is required to hold to protect itself against bankruptcy, as it said its Solvency II ratio currently sits at rates of 227 per cent.
Axa chief executive Thomas Buberl said the insurer’s Solvency II ratio puts it in a “strong position” to navigate any “market volatility,” as he claimed the insurer is confident in its ability to achieve its aims of delivering “underlying earnings per share growth at the high end of our target range”.