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French insurer AXA considers selling up in Central Europe

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French insurer AXA is considering selling its Central European business as part of a restructuring to quit markets where it lacks scale, three sources familiar with the situation said.

[FRANKFURT] French insurer AXA is considering selling its Central European business as part of a restructuring to quit markets where it lacks scale, three sources familiar with the situation said.

AXA is undergoing a deep restructuring to help it cope with a negative interest rate environment and make the French group stronger on health and property and damage insurance.

AXA is now focusing on expanding in Asia, after its US$15 billion acquisition of Bermuda-based insurer XL last year and its listing of US life insurance and asset management unit AXA Equitable Holdings.

"AXA plans to sell its businesses in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia," one person told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that "teasers", or information packs, had been sent to potential investors.

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Two other sources confirmed the planned sales. One person added that Poland's biggest insurer PZU as well as Italian insurer Generali and German Allianz were among companies which had received teasers.

One source said the deal could be worth around 400 million euros (S$603.1 million), while the other source said it could reach around 800 million euros.

AXA's gross revenues in Poland were down 6 per cent in the first half of 2019 to 288 million euros, according to the group's financial report.

AXA, Allianz, Generali and PZU declined to comment. 

REUTERS