The Australian-headquartered arm of French insurer Axa has completed its biggest acquisition in ten years having bought the Hong Kong and Indonesian life insurance businesses of National Australia Bank for $426 million.

The purchase will add 800 sales agents to the 2,400 strong life insurance advisers Axa Asia Pacific already has operating out of Hong Kong. According to Les Owen, the chief executive of Axa’s Asian division, the acquisition will add to earnings in 2007.

The development certainly seems to have met with the approval of the markets as Axa’s share value increased by close to 4% on the news.

Meanwhile, Axa Asia Pacific has reported a higher than expected 18% increase in profit for its last financial year. The division’s net profit before one-off items for the year ended December 31 climbed to A$542.4 million, while annual operating earnings increased by 23% to A$376.7 million, CNN has reported.