France’s AXA Group, Europe’s second largest insurer, reported net profits of 1 billion euros ($1.251 billion), buoyed by a strong recovery in its P/C division.
The results exceeded analysts’ forecasts, which had been in the 780-960 million euro ($975 million to $1.2 billion) range, an increase from 2002’s 949 million euros ($1.187 billion). The P/C division, which was hit hard by the Sept. 11 attacks, rose 21 percent in 2003, posting operating profits of 2.04 billion euros ($3 billion).
Chief Executive Henri de Castries commented that the company had been helped by a more disciplined and now profitable international insurance segment and strong inflows into its asset management and Life Savings businesses. He noted that this marked the fifth consecutive year that the company had shown an improvement in its underlying earnings.
AXA expects the gains to continue through 2004, and indicated that it would seek acquisitions in market areas where it is already well positioned in order to sustain organic growth.
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