AXA expects to book $3.1 billion gain from EQH exit


FILE PHOTO: A logo of insurer Axa is seen at the entrance of the company’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

PARIS (Reuters) – French insurer AXA (AXAF.PA) said it expected to book net proceeds of $3.1 billion from the sale of a 29% stake in AXA Equitable Holdings (EQH) (EQH.N) as it exits its U.S. life insurance business.

AXA, the second-largest European insurer after Germany’s Allianz (ALVG.DE), has been gradually divesting from EQH to raise funds to pay for its $15 billion acquisition of Bermuda-based rival XL last year.

AXA said in a statement on Friday it had sold 144 million EQH shares at $21.80 per share to Goldman Sachs (GS.N), the sole underwriter in a secondary public share offering expected to close on Nov. 13.

EQH has agreed to repurchase 24 million shares at the same price.

AXA said that proceeds from the deal would boost the group’s Solvency II capital requirements ratio by six points and that no significant net income impact was expected.

After the deal, the French group will retain only a 9.6% stake it needs to redeem an AXA bond maturing in May 2021 that has to be exchangeable in EQH shares.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Alexander Smith

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