French insurer announces EURO 2 billion rights issue

AXA has announced a EURO 2 billion rights issue to finance acquisition opportunities in “high growth markets”.

It said targets included the potential buyout of minority interests in Central and Eastern Europe.

Chairman of the AXA 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 EURO 2 billion share capital issue with preferential subscription rights for AXA's existing shareholders is expected to result in the issuance of a minimum of 174,112,428 new shares.

Shareholders will be entitled to receive one preferential subscription right for ech existing share held at the end of trading on November 9, 2009. 12 preferential subscription rights will be required to subscribe for one new share at a subscription price of Euro 11.90.

The subscription price represents a discount of 27.9% to the theoretical ex-right price based on AXA's closing share price on November 6, 2009. The subscription period will last from November 10, 2009 to November 23, 2009 inclusive. During this period, the preferential subscription rights will be traded on Euronext Paris.

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