French insurer Axa has denied market speculation that it is in merger talks with the UK's second largest insurer Prudential, and reaffirmed that it has no plans to enter into talks.

Axa told a newspaper last month that the company wanted to play a part in industry consolidation. After a failed bid by the UK’s market leader Aviva for Prudential, rumors circulated that Axa may make an offer. Prudential has consistently maintained that it has an independent future and refuses to comment on takeover rumors.

Axa said in a statement that it would not normally comment on market rumors but felt compelled to address the situation on an exceptional basis given the unfounded and unusually persistent nature of these rumors.