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AXA gains on new strategic plan to reward shareholders

Published 02/22/2024, 06:42 PM
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Investing.com - AXA  (EPA:AXAF), the French insurer, reported slightly lower-than-expected yearly earnings Thursday, while setting out a new three-year strategic plan, including proposals to lift payouts to shareholders.

The group, Europe’s second-biggest insurer, said full-year 2023 underlying earnings rose by 5% from a year earlier to €7.6 billion (€1 = $1.0853), below the €7.69 billion analyst consensus compiled by the company.

"The lower-than-expected earnings mainly stem from two reasons: our debt which is a little more expensive because of the rise in rates and secondly the fact that we have increased investments in technology," AXA's chief financial officer Alban de Mailly Nesle said, in his earnings call.

That said, AXA’s share price rose almost 3% Thursday after the group also announced a new strategic plan, promising to pay shareholders up to 75% of earnings in cash, including a dividend payout ratio of 60% and an additional 15% from annual share buybacks.

In total, AXA will return up to €6 billion to shareholders in 2024, divided between €4.4 billion in dividends and up to €1.6 billion in share buybacks.

“We will focus on growing and strengthening our core businesses by systematically scaling our distinct capabilities across the Group to deliver even more value to all of our stakeholders,” said Chief Executive Thomas Buberl.

 

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