UPDATE 1-AXA net income slips 1 pct on hedging loss

Fri Aug 2, 2013 1:48am EDT

* CFO says company on track to meet targets

* 228 mln hedging loss drags on profit

* H1 revenue up 4.4 pct on comparable basis

PARIS, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Europe's No. 2 insurer, AXA, said on Friday its first-half net income edged 1 percent lower on a like-for-like basis, as a 228 million euro ($302 million) accounting loss on interest rate hedging instruments offset operational gains.

AXA's net income fell to 2.47 billion euros from 2.54 billion in the year-ago period - a 3 percent drop on a reported basis. Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had forecast net income of 2.34 billion euros, based on an average of two analysts' forecasts.

In addition to the hedging loss, the quarter was also hit by 118 million euros from restructuring costs in the U.S. and an 86 million euro negative impact from discontinued operations, including the sale of a portfolio of old U.S. life insurance policies, the company said.

Adjusted return on equity improved to 16.5 percent, above the company's 15 percent target in its multiyear business plan through 2015.

"We're on track to meet our financial targets for the 2015 timeframe," Chief Financial Officer Gerald Harlin told reporters.

First-half revenue rose 4.4 percent on a comparable basis to 50.04 billion euros, helped by a 5 percent gain in life and savings and a 2 percent uptick in property and casualty, mainly driven by price increases.

AXA's asset management business, including U.S. unit AllianceBernstein reported a 12 percent revenue gain.

AXA said separately that its board next year would ask shareholders to re-appoint Henri de Castries, its chairman and chief executive, to another four-year term.

AXA shares have surged about 25 percent so far this year, outperforming the European sector, which is up 14 percent, helped by signs of higher interest rates and catching up from a two-year period when they had substantially underperformed.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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