AXA explores $1.1 billion disposal of European protection businesses -sources

By Amy-Jo Crowley and Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro

LONDON (Reuters) – AXA is considering selling some of its protection insurance businesses across Western Europe in a deal that could be worth up to 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), two people close to the matter told Reuters.

The French insurance group has been in talks with advisers over plans to divest the businesses, which provide cover against unexpected life events such as accident or illness, with a potential sale in the new year, one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.

The move would unravel at least part of AXA’s 2015 acquisition of Genworth Lifestyle Protection Insurance, the second source said.

The transaction could include businesses in France, Italy, Spain and part of the UK, which all sit under the group’s AXA Partners division, the second source added.

Deliberations are preliminary and the plans could yet be altered or dropped, the sources cautioned.

AXA declined to comment.

A deal would highlight how traditional insurers have been trimming non-core operations for years and seeking to deploy the capital elsewhere.

Dutch insurer Aegon this year agreed to sell a portfolio of protection contracts in the UK to rival Royal London.

($1 = 0.9282 euros)

(Reporting by Amy-Jo Crowley and Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro in London; Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris; Editing by Anousha Sakoui and David Goodman)