About the AXA Company:
Particularly well known in France, the AXA Group is in fact the European leader in the insurance sector and its turnover is generated by diverse and multiple activities that include life insurance, general insurance cover, asset management, international insurance and banking.
This group has extended its activities in different European countries but achieves the majority of its profits in France.
Some key figures to understand better the importance of AXA:
To understand the presence and importance of AXA around the world, here are some important figures you should know.
In 2017, AXA had no less than 107 million customers around the world and only 9 million in France. This clearly demonstrates the strong presence of the French insurer on the international market.
In the labor market, AXA is also a key player, since the group currently employs around 120,000 people in different countries and has with more than 166,000 employees worldwide.
Finally, let's take a look at the profitability of AXA. In 2016, the group generated a turnover of more than 100 billion euros with a net profit of more than 5.6 billion euros.
Of course, these few figures are given to you as an indication and represent the situation as it is in 2017. They are therefore likely to change over time.
The major competitors of Axa:
Knowing about the major competitors of the Axa Group will enable you to better understand the challenges of the insurance activity sector. In fact, by observing the financial results and following the news and events of these competitors you will be able to better anticipate their influence on the Axa Company and thereby adapt your stock market trading strategy accordingly to easily make significant profits.
Competitors of the Axa Group on the international level are numerous. Among these can be noted the Allianz Group which holds second position worldwide in this sector and sixth position in France. This competitor offers overall a similar operation as the Axa Group with comparable products and services and has developed a strong international presence, even beyond Europe.
Another major competitor of the Axa Group is Assicurazioni Generali, originally from Italy, which is currently the market leader in its country and holds third position on a European level. Its shares can be found on the stock market under its more common name of Generali. Generali also offers insurance for individuals and professionals.
In France, the Axa Group faces a serious competitor by the name of Groupama (Groupe des Assurances Mutuelles Agricoles) that also offers banking and savings services and which holds the number two position on a national level in the insurance sector. Axa also faces competition from MMA (Mutuelles du Mans Assurances) which is specialised in insurance for associations and groups as well as individuals and professionals.
The major partners of Axa:
Concerning partnerships of the Axa Company, we need to look to the start-ups that are central to the collaborative strategy of this insurance company. For example, Axa recently collaborated with Blablacar and Deliveroo to offer its services to young innovative businesses.
At present Axa does not have any partnerships with other large companies quoted on the stock markets.
Analysis of the AXA share price:
For many years, the AXA share price has been moving up and down in successive and liquid trends. This is the reason why many investors are interested in this stock.
Important stock market information about Axa shares:
In order to best assist you in understanding the stock market challenges of Axa shares we have given you some essential and pertinent information such as its historical technical growth and some key dates of its financial and economical history. But it is also important to know some more general information such as the following:
- In 2017 the total stock market capital of the French Company Axa amounted to €55,341.90 million.
- The total number of shares issued by the Axa Company and currently in circulation is around 2,425,149,130.
- The Axa share price is currently quoted in the A section of the Euronext Paris stock market in France.
- The Axa Group share price is integrated in the calculation of the major French National stock market Index, the CAC 40.
- The shareholdings in this business are mainly held by individual investors. We particularly note however the 14.13% held by Mutuelles Axa, 5.93% by BlackRock, 5.70% by employees and 0.26% under auto-control.
All this information is important to enable a good understanding of the challenges inherent in trading in Axa shares and can be used to analyse this stock.
Economical and financial history of the AXA Company:
To understand the events that have influenced the AXA share price you need to dive into the financial and economic history of this French Company. Here then is a summary of the major dates that have marked this group’s history since the beginning of the 21st Century.
- In 1999 Axa was implanted in China, Turkey, Lebanon and Japan where it purchased Nippon Dantai.
- In 2000 Axa purchased Sanford Bernstein.
- In 2002 Axa purchased the retail banking arm of the BNP-Paribas group and launched Axa Banque.
- In 2005 Axa merged with Fina to simplify its share structure and control.
- In 2006 Axa purchased the Swiss insurance company Winterthur Assurances but separated from its American subsidiary.
- In 2007 Axa purchased the French subsidiary of the Nationale Suisse Assurance company and joined the Korean and Ukrainian markets.
- In 2008 Axa purchased ING Seguros, a Mexican subsidiary of the ING group, as well as OYAK in Turkey. Following the sub-primes crisis Axa suspended two investment funds in the same year.
- In 2009 it purchased Omniasig.
- In 2010 Axa left the New York stock market but strengthened its presence in China.
- In 2011 Axa sold certain of its activities in Australia and New Zealand.
- In 2012 ICBC-AXA Life was launched in China and became the primary Insurance carrier in Hong Kong.
- In 2014 Axa purchased a majority shareholding in Mansard and purchased the Commercial International Life Insurance Company.
- In 2015 Axa sold its activities in Portugal.
- In 2016 Axa announced the forthcoming redundancies of 650 employees at its Belgian subsidiary within 24 months and its investment of 200 million Euros in digital development. In November of the same year the group announced the sale of Bluefin to the Marsh Company for 340 million Euros.
Analysis of the strengths and weaknessesof AXA shares:
Before you start trading on the price of AXA’s shares, you must of course know very good the prospects for the group's economic growth. To do this, we need to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of this company and detect the opportunities to seize as well as the possible eventual threats that could slow down its development. This is what we propose you to discover here in more detail.
As a first step, you should notice that AXA has many strengths among which we can highlight its very strong presence in the international market since AXA operates in no less than 50 different countries. In Europe, AXA remains a leader company in the sector of insurances and it ranks second in terms of market share. The group is also one of the largest companies in the world in the field of asset management, thanks to its assets attached to the life insurance contracts the company offers.
Thanks to its Direct Assurance subsidiary, which offers different types of insurance contracts on the Internet and by telephone, AXA is currently the leader in online sales in this sector.
Finally, we can highlight the financial solidity of this company, which is constantly attracting many investors.
However, AXA does not only have strengths, it also has a few weaknesses which are also important to know. Thus, we could list the group’s lack of diversification of its activities which remain relatively focused on life insurance, savings and retirement. Even if its international presence is an undeniable strong point, it is also regrettable that its expansion is mainly concentrated on the European territory and little in the rest of the world. In addition, AXA is highly dependent on price increases of damage insurance, which could be detrimental to the profitability of this activity, which is one of the company's main activities. The group also faces increasing competition in the Italian and Spanish markets and is struggling to develop properly.
Finally, it is regrettable that AXA Bank subsidiary has so far only performed relatively poor compared to expectations. This is probably due to a lack of specialization in this area and to a very strong competition from major banking groups and online banks.
Companies owned by AXA and their activities:
To better understand the scope of AXA's activities, we now propose you to find out the companies owned or directly dependent on the group and the activities they carry out.
First, let's take a look at the companies that depend directly on AXA France. We find:
- The company AXA France IARD, which specializes in damage insurance services.
- The company AXA France VIE, which specializes in life insurance contracts.
- The company AXA Assurances IARD Mutuelle (AXA mutual property and casualty insurance), which offers damage insurance services as well.
- The company AXA Assurances VIE Mutuelle (AXA mutual life insurance), which also offers life insurance contracts.
- The company AXA Banque (AXA bank), which offers online and telephone banking services.
- The company AXA Banque Financement (AXA bank financing), which carries out conventional banking activities.
- The company AVANSSUR which offers online and telephone damage insurance services under the direct insurance banner.
- The company Direct Assurance Vie (Direct Life Insurance), which offers life insurance policies online and by telephone also through direct assurance.
- The company AXA Assistance, which is in charge of assistance services.
- The company Mutuelle Saint-Christophe, which provides insurance benefits to a public of dioceses, religious institutes, private schools and employees of these organizations.
- The company Monvoisin Assurance which also proposes damage insurance services.
- The company Run Services, which is actually an insurance brokerage and works in partnership with the Club 14 society.
- The company JURIDICA, which offers legal protection insurance for individuals and professionals.
- The company AXA Epargne Entreprise (AXA enterprise saving), which specializes in employee savings contracts.
- The company Nation Assurance, which is an insurance joint venture owned by AXA and by the banking group BNP Paribas. It offers mainly property and casualty insurance contracts.
- The company AXA France Assurance: This entity is in charge of the legal structuring of AXA.
- The company AXA Caribbean, which offers property and casualty insurances and life insurances. It is a subsidiary in charge of the distribution of these contracts in the French West Indies as well as in Guyana
There are also other companies that depend on the AXA group but are not directly linked to AXA France, such as:
- The company AXA
- The company AXA Global P & C, formerly known as AXA Cessions, which is in charge of AXA's property and casualty and property and casualty reinsurance businesses.
- The company AXA Global Life, AXA's life insurance and savings business line.
- The company AXA Liabilities Managers, which is in charge of managing run-offs.
- The company AXA Investment Managers, which is in charge of asset management for the group.
- The company Axa Real Estate, which is in charge of managing the Group's real estate assets and is a subsidiary of AXA Investment Managers.
- The company AXA Art Assurance, which specializes in the insurance of art objects and art exhibitions.
- The company AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance, which specializes in insurances for corporations such as vehicle and building fleet coverage, it also offers specialized services for the navy and aviation.
- The company AXA Group Solutions, which is an internal consulting and maintenance company for the group's IT solutions.
- The company AXA Technology Services, which is in charge of supplying the group's IT equipment.
- The company AXA Millesimes, which is in charge of managing the group’s various investments in the wine sector.
- The company Truck Assistance International which offers assistance services for the fleets of professional vehicles.
- The company MAXIS, which offers international social protection contracts and is a joint venture also owned by the MetLife group.
- The French Housing Group, which is one of the leading groups in the management of social housing in France, AXA holds 82.22% of its shares.
What are the possibilities of growth of the company AXA and of its stock market shares?
By analyzing the current situation of the insurance market in France and in Europe as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the AXA group, we can try to anticipate the possibilities of economic growth of this company and thus the evolution of the price of its shares on the stock charts.
AXA could indeed seize some interesting development and growth opportunities in the medium and long term. The life insurance market, which is one of the group's flagship services, is a very healthy market compared to other sectors, which suggests great prospects. The online sales of insurance products is also booming and AXA is already well positioned in this area thanks to its subsidiary Direct Assurance. It could thus gain new market shares. Finally, AXA could steer its strategy towards more targeted international development, notably by taking advantage of the growth prospects of markets in emerging countries such as the Asian countries.
But to succeed in this bet on the future, AXA will have to overcome certain pitfalls and avoid certain threats that could slow down its growth. Thus, the observation built today operates in a rather unfavorable economic situation since the national and European economy struggling to recover since the crisis. In addition, the number of claims and damages to be compensated has increased over the last years and this trend could accelerate further in the future, especially since this specific market for property and casualty insurance is particularly congested. Finally, in general, AXA faces increasing competition from European and international competitors specialized or not in insurance.
All elements must therefore be carefully monitored to help you accurately anticipate AXA's economic and financial developments and trade on its stock market.
The arguments in favour of a rise in the AXA share price:
Of course, one of the most persuasive arguments relating to a probability of a rising trend of the AXA share price concerns its position among the other European and international players in certain specific sectors of its activities. It should be remembered here that the AXA Group currently holds second position in the insurance sector in Europe and is the leader in life insurance worldwide. It is also the global leader in the wealth management sector. This position as leader has been rendered possible through the long term strategy practised by this group over the last three decades which essentially resides on the strategic acquisition of companies around the world. Nowadays this strong position offers the AXA Group a better visibility worldwide than the majority of its competitors and an almost total coverage of the different areas in this sector.
This in fact brings us to another positive argument for the future growth in this share price and relates this time to the distribution of this group’s activities into different sectors. It should be remembered here that the life and retirements savings solutions alone represent nearly 58% of this group’s activities. Then we find the damage insurance policies with 33% of the activities then international insurance and wealth management. The fact that these sectors are so separate and distinct means that AXA offers a better coverage for the market requirements and protects the company from risks related to a single type of product.
Apart from these arguments we should also mention the fact that the financial situation of this company appears particularly solid which strengthens the shareholders and investors feelings of security and encourages them to take buying positions in this company. This financial solidity is largely due to the centralised cash management system of the company which boasted a 191% solvency ratio in September 2016.
The AXA Group has for eight years concentrated its activities and investments in certain countries that have undergone strong growth and emerging countries which are now starting to bear fruit. Since 2010 AXA has in fact invested no less than 4.2 billion Euros in Asia and has thereby become leader in this sector. This company has also invested 0.7 billion Euros in the Mediterranean, Africa and Latin America as well as 200 million Euros in Eastern Europe. The current increase in growth in these geographical sectors should therefore continue to the benefit of AXA and generate even more revenue.
Another advantageous strategy of AXA relating to its development concerns its continuing responsiveness to the digital world. By using this type of communication and distribution channels the group shows itself to be more in touch with the general modern trend and thereby improves its brand image. In this way it is connected to a larger market and can therefore be more competitive against the competition. Still from a strategic point of view, in order to further improve its profitability and financial results AXA recently decided to concentrate on its unit linked technical products such as health, accidents and retirement that offer more advantageous margins and are less sensitive to variations and drops in the interest rates.
Generally speaking, if we compare the results published by AXA to those of the market in general, we can observe that the group is one of the only companies capable of generating profits, sometimes even record profits, in a negative environment with low true rates or highly volatile markets.
And finally the last argument for a rise in the AXA share price relates to the global confidence of the analysts and ratings agencies relating to this asset. The group benefits from an AA rating from a number of these agencies and the analysts agree with this positive rating which confirms the reliability and strong position of this asset.
The arguments in favour of a drop in the AXA share price:
After reading the factors presented up to now you have no doubt reached the conclusion that the AXA Company is financially solid with an attractive strategy that should enable the company to continue increasing its activities and profits in the future. However stock market investors do not simply content themselves with an analysis of the group’s strengths, they also take into consideration the company’s weak points and the factors in favour of a drop in the company’s share price and this is what we shall now examine in detail.
Firstly, with the highly specific activity sector of the AXA Company we note that the capital structure is strongly sensitive to changes in the financial markets. This notably concerns the continuation of the weakness in current rates which are highly punishing for AXA’s guaranteed service rates as well as for the retention of life assurance margins and the shocking rise in the interest rates.
We also note a significant structural drop in the profitability of savings schemes for the majority of insurers including the AXA Company. Concerning the new savings accounts, the profitability and the margins of the insurers are currently operating close to zero which is a real problem over the long term.
The profitability of the AXA Group can also be negatively affected by certain events that incur serious losses. This notably concerns events such as bombings or climate catastrophes including floods that have increased in number over the last few years.
The fact of having to respond to the capital requirements of the GSII regulations presents another serious setback to the development of the AXA Company which at present still manages to satisfy their requirements.
And to conclude, the last argument in favour of a drop in the AXA share price relates to the lack of interest from investors for assets in this particular sector. In fact, since the financial crisis that severely affected Europe a few years ago, investors have displayed a certain wariness, even distrust regarding financial companies in this geographical area, including those of the insurance sector.