Axa's Q1 group sales fall 2.7%


Axa, Europe's second-biggest insurer, said first-quarter group sales fell 2.7 per cent to €28.066 billion (Dh159bn) with turnover hurt by foreign exchange rates and credit crisis.

Life and savings new business sales on an annual premium equivalent (APE) basis fell 6.2 per cent to €1.939bn. A Reuters poll of 10 analysts gave an average APE sales forecast of €2bn.

Annual premium equivalent turnover, an industry benchmark, smoothes out swings created by the sales of single-premium products such as annuities and investment bonds.

Sales of property and casualty (P&C) insurance rose two per cent to €8.885bn, also slightly below an average Reuters forecast for sales of 8.92bn.

Insurers have been affected by the global credit crunch and stock market fall since their savings products often invest much of their assets in equities.

However, Axa Chief Executive Henri de Castries expected more growth in the property and casualty business and was upbeat over Axa's prospects despite the financial market turmoil.