PARIS Aug 1 AXA, Europe's
second-biggest insurer, reported a 25 percent increase in
first-half net profit on a comparable basis, boosted by strong
earnings growth and a favourable impact of lower interest rates
on the value of its financial assets.
Net income reached 3.01 billion euros ($4.03 billion) in the
first half, also benefitting from lower restructuring costs, AXA
said on Friday.
The company said in a statement it was raising its cost
savings target to 1.9 billion euros by 2015 from 1.7 billion
Total revenue rose 2.0 percent on a comparable basis to
49.71 billion euros, and underlying earnings rose 8.0 percent
over the period to 2.78 billion.
Earnings benefitted from particularly strong growth in AXA's
life and savings business, but were negatively impacted by
higher natural catastrophe charges in its property and casualty
line stemming from June hailstorms in Europe, finance head
Gerald Harlin told journalists on a conference call.
In terms of its balance sheet, gearing was stable at 24
percent, in line with the group's target of 23-25 percent.
(1 US dollar = 0.7471 euro)
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by James Regan)