AXA lifts 2023 targets as full-year earnings miss expectations

·1-min read
The logo of French Insurer Axa is seen outside a building in Montaigu

PARIS (Reuters) - French insurer AXA posted lower-than-expected full-year earnings on Thursday as the rise in interest rates weighed on the valuation of its bond assets but raised its 2023 targets.

Europe's second-biggest insurer after Germany's Allianz said net income fell by 8% year-on-year to 6.7 billion euros ($7.12 billion) in 2022.

This missed the 7.22 billion-euro consensus of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv. Gross revenues over the year were up 2% to 102.3 billion euros, in line with the Refinitiv analyst consensus estimate.

"The year 2022 was marked by major political and economic events -- the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, inflation -- all of which have made the environment difficult and uncertain," said Frederic de Courtois, the deputy chief executive, in a call with journalists.

The Paris-based company said the fall in value of its bond assets cut 482 million euros from its net income last year, as a general rise in interest rates hit the valuation of the company's bond assets, whose prices decline when interest rates rise.

AXA yet raised its 2023 guidance, saying it now targeted an underlying earnings per share growth above 7%, up from a previous target of a growth in the high end of its 3% to 7% range by 2023.

It also announced a share buy-back programme of up to 1.1 billion euros this year and a dividend of 1.70 per share, up 10% from 2021.

($1 = 0.9416 euros)

(This story has been refiled to add dropped word 'decline' in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Matthieu Protard, editing by Tassilo Hummel)