Buyouts in central and eastern Europe targetted

AXA announced on Monday that it plans to raise €2bn (£1.8bn) through a rights issue to finance acquisition opportunities in “high growth markets”.

AXA said targets included the potential buyout of minority interests in central and eastern Europe.

The French insurer has refused to comment on whether its acquisition fund could be used to buy RBS’s insurance assets. A spokesman said that it never comments on market speculation.

AXA’s chairman of the management board, Henri de Castries, said: “Through the rights issue, our shareholders will be able to participate in the positive prospects offered by the acquisition opportunities arising from the current market environment.”

The settlement and listing of the new shares are expected to take place on 4 December 2009.