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Axis to pull out of retail in Australia, cut 100 jobs


Pembroke, Bermuda-based Axis Capital Holdings Ltd. said Wednesday that it plans to withdraw from the retail market in Australia and will also cut a total of 100 positions, or about 8% of its work force, primarily in its corporate and select insurance operations.

The specialty insurer and reinsurer said in a statement that following an operations review, it has decided to wind down its retail insurance operations in Australia, and continue to serve the Australian market through its international wholesale and global reinsurance platforms.

A spokesman had no comment regarding how many of the 100 positions it plans to cut are in Australia. However, according to a report, they account for about half of the total.

The company said in its statement that the reductions will result in a pre-tax reorganization charge of about $51 million to its third-quarter 2015 results, and that they are consistent with its previously-announced effort to reduce its expense level and position itself to “more effectively deliver greater value for its customers, brokers and shareholders.” Axis had a total of 1,254 employees as of its latest annual report.

The company said the reduction will result in an anticipated annual run-rate pre-tax cost savings of about $30 million, to be substantially realized in 2016.

Axis president and CEO Albert Benchimol said in the statement, “The refinements announced today are about strengthening the Company's focus, and moving resources to where they can provide the greatest value to brokers and clients — ultimately driving profitable book value per share growth over the longer term.”

Axis had proposed an $11 billion cash-and-stock merger with PartnerRe Ltd. which ultimately was acquired by Italian investment firm Exor S.p.A.

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