By Ed Frankl

 

AXA SA on Thursday raised its outlook and launched a new share buyback, buoyed by a strong operating performance in 2022.

The French insurer said full-year underlying earnings rose to 7.26 billion euros ($7.70 billion), from EUR6.76 billion in 2021, reflecting resilient underwriting and higher investment income at its property & casualty business and better margins in its life & savings operation.

Gross revenues climbed 2% on year to EUR102.34 billion, driven by its health and P&C businesses, although this was partly offset by tumbling reinsurance revenue as it pursued its strategy of reducing its natural-catastrophe exposure.

Underlying earnings and revenues topped expectations of EUR7.14 billion and EUR102.03 billion, respectively, from its company-compiled consensus.

However, full-year net profit fell below estimates, declining 8% on year to EUR6.68 billion, as unfavorable markets hit the value of its invested assets, alongside the write-off of its stake in Russian insurer Reso Garantia, AXA said.

Still, the Paris-based company raised its guidance, targeting underlying earnings-per-share compound growth above its previously guided 3%-7% target range in 2020-23, assuming current operating conditions persist.

AXA said its outlook was aided by a strong balance sheet, actions to counterbalance higher inflation, and measures taken to limit losses from natural disasters.

The CAC-40-listed company also launched a share-buyback program of up to EUR1.1 billion, expected to be completed by year end, and declared a dividend of EUR1.70 per share, up 10% on year.

 

Write to Ed Frankl at edward.frankl@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 23, 2023 01:17 ET (06:17 GMT)

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