French insurer AXA confirmed its key 2020 financial targets on Tuesday after announcing a management shake-up that saw the departure of several senior executives.
Chief Executive Thomas Buberl, at the helm of the insurer since 2016, aims to grow in areas such as health, protection and property and casualty insurance, to help offset falling yields.
AXA’s confirmation of earnings per share and cashflow targets at an investors’ day drew a muted response from the market, with AXA shares down 0.9 percent by 1230 GMT.
In reply to an analyst who voiced disappointment that the company had not revised up targets, Buberl said that now was not the right time to raise the targets, given the company was only a year and a half into its original business plan.
“We are well on the journey and we are accelerating. Due to the fact that I am coming from a German culture with a very prudent approach, I’d really like to keep it there and leave some room for later till 2020,” he added.
AXA, which has ruled out major acquisitions, said it would dedicate 200 million euros ($234 million) of its one billion euro mergers and acquisitions budget per year to innovation.
Buberl said AXA did not want to overpay for acquisitions, and would be ready to use the money for share buybacks, if it did not find the right takeover target.
In health insurance, one of the business areas where it wants to expand, Buberl said AXA would consider putting money into medical centers.
AXA aims to increase earnings per share by 3 to 7 percent a year over 2016-2020 and have a cumulative cashflow of 24-27 billion euros over that time frame, before the proceeds from an initial public offering of its combined U.S. life insurance and asset management unit, scheduled for the second quarter of 2018.
On Monday, AXA presented a plan to simplify its operating model with a new structure based on geographical areas, rather than business units.
The reshuffle saw the departures of two executives who had worked at the group for more than 15 years – Gaëlle Olivier, head of AXA’s global property and casualty business and Paul Evans, head of life, savings and health. ($1 = 0.8556 euros)