Dublin-based Axa Life Europe slides into red after €1.2bn sale shelved

Cinven originally agreed to buy business in late 2018 but deal abandoned due to pandemic

Dublin-based Axa Life Europe swung into a loss last year, after a long-agreed $1.4 billion (€1.2 billion) sale of the business to London private equity firm Cinven fell through.

The company, part of French insurance giant Axa, manages unit-lined life insurance products for customers across Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, but has been closed to new business since 2017.

Cinven originally agreed to buy the business in late 2018, but the deal was called off in August last year amid global economic uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Axa said at the time that it would reassess its strategic options to “maximise value creation and cash efficiency” of the unit.

Axa Life Europe's accounts for 2020, filed with the Companies Registration Office in recent days, show that its gross written premium dipped to €202 million from €212 million a year earlier, as existing customers, mainly in Germany, continued to make premium contributions.


The company, which had an average of 80 employees last year, posted a total comprehensive loss last year of €32.9 million, compared to a profit of €33.2 million in 2019. The loss was driven by the company taking a €128 million charge as a contract to underwrite reinsurance business for Axa Japan was moved to a replacement reinsurer.

Elsewhere in the international life insurance industry in Dublin, Standard Life International and Ark Life were put up for sale by its owner, London-listed Phoenix Group, earlier this year.

While Phoenix agreed to sell Ark Life to Irish Life in July for €230 million, the group abandoned the idea of selling Standard Life International.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times