AXA continues UK sell-off

£375 million deal reached as company continues to hit the headlines

AXA continues UK sell-off

Insurance News

By Paul Lucas

Details have been revealed about the latest in a long list of recent sell-offs from AXA as a deal has been reached for the insurer to sell its wealth unit’s pensions and protection business across to Phoenix Group.

According to a Telegraph report, Pearl Life Holdings, a subsidiary of Phoenix, will pay £375 million to take control of AXA’s pensions and investments wing Embassy, as well as Sun Life which offers protection to customers aged over 50.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pearl Life will pick up £12.3 billion in assets under management along with 910,000 policies. Phoenix has funded the deal by floating around 22.5m new shares – representing around 10 per cent of its share capital – as well as taking on a short-term debt that the firm is hopeful of repaying within six months.

The deal is just the latest in a string of sell-offs from the French insurer. Less than a month ago it announced it would sell Elevate, its portfolio service business, to Standard Life – the latter picking up around £9.8 billion in assets under administration, as well as 160,000 customers. In addition, it also hit the headlines for pulling out of tobacco investments – which was previously a £1.8 billion portfolio for the company – claiming that the economic costs were huge and the human cost is “tragic”.

Speaking to the publication, Clive Bannister, Phoenix’s chief executive, remarked that the company “will invest heavily to ensure a smooth transition of the two businesses” and that he believes there will be further consolidation in the industry.

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