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May 12, 2017updated 18 May 2017 10:40am

Axa to float US businesses

By Meghna Mukerjee

French insurer Axa has unveiled plans to float its American asset management and life insurance businesses in 2018.

Axa plans to convert around $1bn of outstanding debt owed by AXA US to AXA Group into equity prior to the flotation.

According to Axa, the listing of the US businesses would offer “significant additional financial flexibility”, reduce exposure to financial risks, and boost its capital position.

Proceeds from the float will be reinvested in the group’s priority business lines or returned to shareholders.

AXA CEO Thomas Buberl said: “The decision to prepare for a listing of our US operations is a key step towards our 2020 objectives.”

“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.

“It would also benefit from greater strategic flexibility to deliver sustainable and profitable growth,” Buberl added.

AXA holds an interest of about 64% in asset manager AllianceBernstein, which managed $498bn in assets at the end of March 2017.

Earlier in May, AllianceBernstein appointed Seth Bernstein as its new president and CEO, and Robert Zoellick as chairman of its board.

Bernstein and Zoellick replaced Peter Kraus in the top role, following his departure.

Bernstein previously served at JPMorgan Chase for 32 years, most recently as managing director and global head of managed solutions and strategy at the firm’s asset management unit.

While, Zoellick served as the president of the World Bank Group from 2007 to 2012, and at Goldman Sachs Group.

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