February 22, 2018 / 6:16 AM / a month ago

Insurer AXA's 2017 profit rises ahead of planned IPO of U.S. business

PARIS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - France’s AXA posted a higher than expected 2017 net profit on Thursday and stronger earnings in the United States, ahead of the planned flotation of its American life insurance and asset management businesses in the second quarter this year.

The insurer posted a 2017 net profit of 6.21 billion euros ($7.62 billion), while analysts had on average forecast net profit of 5.97 billion euros in a Reuters poll.

The company proposed a 2017 dividend of 1.26 euros a share, up 9 percent and corresponding to a payout ratio of 49 percent. The dividend topped analysts estimates of 1.20 euros.

“Health was our fastest growing business in 2017,” AXA said in a statement, adding that the company had for the first time crossed a 6 billion euros mark in underlying earnings. They were up 6 percent at 6.002 billion euros.

$1 = 0.8145 euros Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Matthieu Protard Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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