AXA has reported a strong global performance for the first half of 2005, with underlying earnings of E1,761 million, up 26% on the first half of 2004. Furthermore, despite the impact of Hurricane Katrina on its US operations, the company expects to remain on track to achieve double digit earnings growth for the full year.

In the UK and Ireland, underlying earnings of GBP118 million for H1 2005 were 19% ahead of the first half of 2004 (GBP99 million). The company said all AXA businesses in the UK have made a positive contribution to this improved result.

Total non-life revenues in the UK and Ireland were flat at GBP1.56 billion for H1 2005. This reflects rate-softening in UK commercial lines and adverse developments in motor in Ireland offset by strong growth in UK personal lines.

UK health revenues also improved by 8% through the transfer of a major portfolio in the second half of 2004 and the successful launch of lower premium products designed to appeal to a wider market segment.

In the company’s UK life and savings business, APE was 14% higher for the first half of 2005 (GBP261 million) compared to the first half of 2004 (GBP228 million). AXA’s growth in new business was well ahead of market trends. Significant growth was seen in the IFA channel (up 24%), with increases achieved in investment bonds (up 33%), executive pensions (up 55%) and group pensions (up 25%).

Underlying earnings in UK life and savings increased by 15% from GBP26 million for the first half of 2004 to GBP30 million for the first half of 2005. This reflects higher fund management fees driven by growth in unit linked funds under management, partially offset by increased expenses due to investments in sales and customer service.