Axa First-Quarter Revenue Falls 1% on Life and Savings

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Axa SA, Europe’s second-largest insurer, reported a 1 percent decline in first-quarter revenue on lower sales at the life and savings division and as the euro strengthened.

Revenue slipped to 28.5 billion euros ($39.7 billion) from 28.9 billion euros in the year-earlier period, the Paris-based insurer said in an e-mailed statement today. Life and savings, the largest division, had a 3.5 percent decline in sales to about 15.8 billion euros.

“We continued to focus our business toward products that meet the needs of our customers in terms of pension and retirement plans, better margins and more efficient capital,” Deputy Chief Executive Officer Denis Duverne said in the statement. “This allowed us to increase the value of our new business despite lower volumes.”

Axa, led by CEO Henri de Castries, has disposed of 8.5 billion euros of assets in developed markets since 2010 to invest in faster-growing nations from China to Colombia. The insurer is seeking to double operating profit from such markets in 2015 from 2010.

Born three decades ago from a combination of French mutual insurers, Axa has shifted more than 10 percent of its shareholders’ equity since 2008 to expand in emerging markets.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fabio Benedetti-Valentini in Paris at fabiobv@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net