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Axa feels positive despite fall in life and pensions

The Axa Group has seen positive results for 2003 despite a flat performance in UK life business.

Its group results show adjusted earnings of £1.4bn last year compared with £1.3bn in 2002, with UK life and pension business earnings down by £152m to £30m from £182m.

New UK life and savings business was also down by 11 per cent to £471.3m from £529.6m.

Axa Sun Life chief executive Paul Evans says the firm saw positive growth in the second half of the year and says 2002 included several exceptional items which boosted its results, with 2003 including exceptional charges. He says removing these items leaves results relatively flat.

Evans says he believes Axa has stolen a march on the industry with its move to pull out of the with-profits bond market in June 2002, with 72 per cent of its new business now unit-linked compared with 51 per cent in 2002.

He says: “In terms of realistic solvency, that calculation is due to be finished at the end of March. However, we are confident it will be in excess of 200 per cent of the requirement.”

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