UPDATE 1-AXA says 2012 earnings fall 4 pct, lifts dividend

Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:31am EST

* Raises dividend by 4 pct

* Year-ago net lifted by 1.4 bln in one-off gains

* Raises cost cutting target by 200 mln euros

* Revenue rises 2 pct to 90.1 bln euros

PARIS, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Europe's No. 2 insurer, AXA , said on Thursday its full-year 2012 net income fell 4 percent on a like-for-like basis compared with a year-ago figure inflated by one-off gains from asset sales.

AXA reported a decline in net income to 4.15 billion euros ($5.55 billion) from 4.19 billion the year before, a period that had been boosted by 1.4 billion in exceptional gains.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had forecast net income of 4.43 billion.

AXA, which raised its dividend by 4 percent to 0.72 cents a share, said that underlying earnings - stripping out gains from the sale in 2011 of units in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and its stake in Chinese insurer Taikang Life - rose 9 percent.

Revenues rose 2 percent on a like-for-like basis to 90.1 billion euros, as gains in property and casualty and life businesses outweighed a decline in asset management. The revenue figure fell short of the average analysts' estimate of 94.8 billion euros.

The insurer, which controls U.S. asset manager Alliancebernstein Holding, said it was raising the cost-cutting target in its 2011-15 industrial plan by 200 million euros to 1.7 billion. It added that it plans to invest 1.2 billion in the business in 2013.

AXA shares are up 2.6 percent so far this year, outperforming the European sector, which has gained 1.2 percent.