August 2, 2018 / 6:00 AM / a year ago

French insurer AXA reports first-half profit in line with forecast

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) - AXA (AXAF.PA), Europe’s second-biggest insurer, reported lower first-half net profits that nevertheless met market forecasts, as its earnings were impacted by charges related to the initial public offering of its U.S. unit during the period.

Net profit fell 14.4 percent from a year ago to 2.8 billion euros (£2.51 billion), in-line with the average forecast of four analysts polled by Inquiry Financial on behalf of Reuters.

Paris-based AXA booked an exceptional charge worth 361 million euros, mainly related to the initial public offering, and booked another 346 million euro charge as it adjusted the market value of its assets.

AXA, which is Europe’s second-biggest insurer behind Allianz (ALVG.DE), updated its debt reduction target to a debt gearing ratio of between 25-28 percent by 2020, compared to a prior target of below 28 percent.

Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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