AXA narrows M&A focus to 16 markets, including Southeast Asia and China

Major insurer to restrict acquisitions to key markets and let go of assets in less-profitable areas

AXA narrows M&A focus to 16 markets, including Southeast Asia and China

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Multinational insurer AXA will narrow its acquisition targets to 16 key markets, including four Asian markets, executives have revealed.

“We want to focus on fewer countries,” AXA Group chief executive Thomas Buberl said during an investor’s day in Paris on Tuesday. “We want to focus on these countries where we have scale and potential.”

AXA mentioned 10 developed markets, such as France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and the US, and six emerging ones – China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, and Mexico – as the markets it would like to focus on.

These countries account for almost 90% of AXA’s profits, reported Reuters.

“Our M&A (mergers and acquisitions) strategy will focus only on those [sixteen]countries,” Buberl said.

Earlier this year, AXA said that it would be more sparing in acquisitions, ruling out any major takeovers. According to Buberl, the company does not want to overpay, and is likely to spend for share buybacks in case it was not able to find the right acquisition target.

The insurer announced that it would earmark €200 million of its €1 billion M&A war-chest for innovation-related purposes.

AXA also announced that it is looking to sell its assets in 26 markets where it lacks scale. However, chief financial officer Gerald Harlin clarified that AXA will not completely cease activity and exit these markets, which include Algeria, Colombia, Russia, and Turkey.

“What we said is that we will rationalize it. There will be some that will be sold and there will be others that indeed will be managed for more profit,” said Harlin.

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