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UPDATE 1-French insurer AXA to bolster capital at corporate-focused XL unit

(Updates with CFO comments)

PARIS, Nov 3 (Reuters) - French insurer AXA said on Tuesday it would inject around 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) into its XL unit to strengthen the capital position of a business hit by coronavirus-related claims and costs stemming from natural catastrophes.

The news came as AXA reported an 8% drop in nine-months revenue and said it expected only a limited impact on claims from the second wave of coronavirus lockdowns.

The group said its company-focused XL Group, which reported a loss in the first half of the year, had hiked its renewal prices by 20% in insurance contracts and by 10% in reinsurance ones.

“We want to be sure that ... we allocate capital to where we want to grow. It’s important that XL is able to seize opportunities, while there has also been losses linked to COVID this year,” Chief Financial Officer Etienne Bouas-Laurent told journalists.

“We have an intention to increase the capital at XL in this context,” he said, adding it was business as usual and the move would not have an impact on the group’s solvency.

AXA’s solvency II ratio - a measure of its capital strength under EU risk-measurement rules for insurers - was stable at 180%.

The company’s revenue fell to 73.4 billion euros ($86 billion) in January-September.

$1 = 0.8531 euros Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Mark Potter