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(Reuters) — Axa S.A., Europe’s second-biggest insurer, reported lower first-half net profits that nevertheless met market forecasts, as its earnings were impacted by charges related to the initial public offering of its U.S. unit during the period.
Net profit fell 14.4% from a year ago to €2.8 billion ($3.3 billion), in line with the average forecast of four analysts polled by Inquiry Financial on behalf of Reuters.
Paris-based Axa booked an exceptional charge worth €361 million, mainly related to the initial public offering, and booked another €346 million charge as it adjusted the market value of its assets.
Axa, which is Europe’s second-biggest insurer behind Allianz S.E., updated its debt reduction target to a debt gearing ratio of between 25% to 28% by 2020, compared with a prior target of below 28%.
Axa S.A.’s $15.3 billion bid to buy Bermuda-based XL Group Ltd. has some observers questioning the logic and pricing of the deal.