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Axa has announced its intention to float its US operations as part of a multi-year overhaul of its businesses.

The French insurer said today it plans to list a minority stake of its US operations – comprising its US Life & Savings business and the company’s interest in asset manager Alliance Bernstein – in the first half of 2018, subject to market conditions.

The company said the listing of the US operations “would bring significant additional financial flexibility for AXA, benefiting from supportive macroeconomic conditions in the US, and create an option to further reduce AXA’s exposure to financial risks while further strengthening its economic capital position.”

The proceeds from the initial public offering would be reinvested in the company’s priority businesses, or potentially returned to shareholders.

Thomas Buberl, chief executive, said the decision to prepare for an IPO of the US operations was a key step towards achieving Axa’s so-called Ambition 2020 objectives. He added:

We believe the current environment is supportive of this strategic initiative which would create significant additional financial flexibility to accelerate the transformation of the AXA Group around Health, Capital-light Savings, Protection and P&C commercial lines, our priority lines of business.

At the same time, we are convinced our US operations would be better positioned as a listed company in the US, operating on a level-playing field under local regulatory rules, and would benefit from greater strategic flexibility to deliver sustainable and profitable growth.

Axa said in an update today that revenues for its Life & Savings and Property & Casualty units enjoyed solid revenue growth in the first three months of this year, while asset management inflows were positive for the first quarter.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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