French Insurer AXA Plans to Cut Dividend by 50% on COVID-19 Impact

June 3, 2020

French insurer AXA plans to cut its dividend to 0.73 euros per share from a planned payout of 1.43 euros, the firm said on Wednesday, in order to preserve cash amid the coronavirus pandemic.

AXA added that it could consider proposing an additional fourth-quarter shareholder payment, of up to 0.70 euros per share, if financial market conditions improved.

Insurers across the world have been slashing their dividend payouts in order to preserve cash as the health crisis hits businesses across the world.

The European Union’s insurance regulator had urged insurers and reinsurers in April to suspend temporarily dividends and share buybacks, while British insurers canceled more than 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) of dividends in April.

Last month, AXA said the crisis would have a material impact on its 2020 earnings and added it could face claims of about 500 million euros ($560 million) for event cancellations.

AXA has also said it will meet the bulk of business interruption claims from some restaurant owners in France, after losing a court case seen as a potential precedent for coronavirus-related disputes across the world.

($1 = 0.8928 euros) ($1 = 0.7943 pounds) (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Himani Sarkar)

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