|Bid||216.80 x 214900|
|Ask||216.80 x 10000|
|Day's Range||216.15 - 216.95|
|52 Week Range||170.46 - 225.90|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.97|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||12.53|
|Earnings Date||Feb 21, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||9.00 (4.18%)|
|1y Target Est||213.69|
(Bloomberg) -- The September mayhem in the U.S. repo market suggests there’s a structural problem in this vital corner of finance and the incident wasn’t just a temporary hiccup, according to a new analysis from the Bank for International Settlements.This market, which relies heavily on just four big U.S. banks for funding, was upended in part because those firms now hold more of their liquid assets in Treasuries relative to what they park at the Federal Reserve, officials at the Basel-based institution concluded in a report released Sunday. That meant “their ability to supply funding at short notice in repo markets was diminished.”And hedge funds are financing more investments through repo, which “appears to have compounded the strains,” the researchers added.This brings the BIS, the central bank for central banks, into a controversy that has vexed observers for almost three months: Why did the repo market get so bad, so quickly? On Sept. 17, rates on general collateral repo briefly surged to 10% from around 2%.Many, including the Fed, concluded in the immediate aftermath that two transitory events collided: investors used repo to finance the purchase of a large batch of newly auctioned Treasuries at the same time that quarterly corporate tax payments drained liquidity from that market.But the BIS doubts an ephemeral supply-and-demand imbalance is totally to blame.“None of these temporary factors can fully explain the exceptional jump in repo rates,” Fernando Avalos, Torsten Ehlers and Egemen Eren wrote in the latest BIS Quarterly Review.That will face a test in the middle of this month, when new Treasury debt will again collide with corporations’ quarterly tax payments.Trouble could also resurface at year-end, a time when repo liquidity has historically been scarce. Given this, the Fed’s repo cash injections continue to be carefully monitored, with Monday’s 28-day term operation once again showing investors are hungry for funding that takes them into 2020.Reserves, or cash that banks stash at the Fed, are the easiest asset for banks to tap when they want to quickly move money into repo. And it would’ve been logical for banks to pour cash into repo to get those 10% returns from an overnight loan.The four banks that dominate the market hold about 25% of the reserves in the U.S. banking system, but 50% of the Treasuries. That mismatch likely slowed the movement of cash into repo, the BIS researchers postulated.“Not only did the spike in the repo rate come as a surprise to the New York Fed, but they also haven’t been able to normalize it as quickly as they thought they could,” Bloomberg Opinion columnist and chief economic adviser at Allianz SE Mohamed A. El-Erian said Monday on Bloomberg TV. “It hasn’t proven to be temporary. It hasn’t proved to be reversible without massive injections of liquidity. Which means that structural issues are playing a role.”Volatility in the amount of cash the U.S. Treasury keeps parked at the Fed also affected banks’ reserves, according to the BIS team. “The resulting drain and swings in reserves are likely to have reduced the cash buffers of the big four banks and their willingness to lend into the repo market,” they wrote.JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has put the blame on regulators themselves. He said in October that his firm had the cash and willingness to calm short-term funding markets but liquidity rules for banks held it back.Some analysts have also pointed to a new corner of the market which has seen immense growth: sponsored repo. This allows banks to transact with counterparties like money-market funds without impacting their balance sheet constraints. The downside is that it’s only available on an overnight basis, and as a result has further concentrated funding risk.Along with changing market structure, the BIS researchers connected the repo ruckus to banks being somewhat out of practice in daily reserve management. That’s because trillions of dollars worth of Fed asset purchases -- the so-called quantitative easing program meant to help the economy recover from the 2008 financial crisis -- had left the banking system flush with cash for years.“The internal processes and knowledge that banks need to ensure prompt and smooth market operations may” have started to decay, BIS wrote. “This could take the form of staff inexperience and fewer market-makers, slowing internal processes.”The Fed in 2017 started shrinking its balance sheet and shortages began to re-emerge last quarter. The central bank stopped paring back holdings in August and started buying Treasury bills in October, an attempt to add reserves to the banking system. That was part of its campaign to keep the repo market calm, an effort that began in September with overnight and then longer-term repo operations.“These ongoing operations have calmed markets,” the BIS researchers wrote.The BIS report also took a look at the European repo market, which escaped the kind of turmoil that engulfed the U.S. in September. Yet the current tranquility in European repo doesn’t mean all is calm. Beneath the surface, the 8-trillion-euro ($9 trillion) market is becoming increasingly fragmented, raising the risk that cash may not flow through properly, the BIS said.(Updates to add eighth paragraph on mid-December collision of Treasury auctions and corporate tax payments.)\--With assistance from Anchalee Worrachate.To contact the reporter on this story: Liz Capo McCormick in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Dobson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Nick Baker, Neil ChatterjeeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Fighting climate change will cost companies worldwide nearly $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years, according to an estimate by Allianz SE.The German insurer analyzed the most important measures currently enacted or under discussion to rein in global warming and found that the energy sector alone will be hit with an additional cost of $900 billion. Further emissions cap reductions or industrial regulations could increase that amount.The report comes as representatives from nearly 200 countries hold climate talks in Madrid to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit fossil fuel pollution. The United Nations has warned the global climate outlook is “bleak,” and protests that governments aren’t doing enough to prevent global warming are growing louder.“The urgently needed transformation into a climate-neutral economic system that lies ahead of us, requires close cooperation between the state and companies in view of the high transformation costs,” said Ludovic Subran, chief economist at Allianz. “Only if companies are not overburdened and structural change is actively managed by both sides can the transition to climate-neutral economies succeed.”Allianz argued that most companies are “insufficiently prepared” for the regulatory wave coming toward them, and urged them to assess their emissions and address indirect effects including supply-chain transmission and financial risks.“The ultimate risk is complete loss of value of certain assets or entire businesses,” it said.To contact the reporter on this story: Jana Randow in Frankfurt at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Markets) -- Just 31 years after it was founded in China’s southern city of Shenzhen, Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. has grown into the world’s second-largest insurer by market value after Berkshire Hathaway Inc.—more valuable than Allianz SE and AIA Group Ltd. combined. A financial supermarket that offers insurance, asset management, banking, and trust services, Ping An (which roughly translates to “safe and well”) added a focus on technology in the wake of the financial crisis. Now it has five groups of internet platforms, which it calls ecosystems, focused on finance, property, automotive, health care, and services for the “smart city.” More than 576 million users and 100 Chinese cities are connected to at least one of those ecosystems. One of the businesses, Ping An Healthcare and Technology Co., which runs the health-care portal Good Doctor, has already listed separately. Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co., the unit that manages the finance website Lu.com, postponed a planned public offering in 2016 when the government cracked down on peer-to-peer lending. Ping An has started licensing technology to peers at home and abroad. Below are excerpts from Bloomberg Markets’ September interviews about the company’s strategy, conducted separately with two of Ping An’s co-chief executive officers, Jessica Tan and Lee Yuan Siong. (Lee will be leaving at the end of January to become AIA Group CEO and president on June 1.)BLOOMBERG MARKETS: How will technology change Ping An in the next decade?JESSICA TAN: For technology, we have a three-step path. The first is to enable finance with technology, using technology to very aggressively innovate our business model from sales to risk control and operations, which we’ve been doing in the past 11 years. The second step is to use technology to enable the ecosystems, targeting either consumers or businesses and the government. Then it’s the ecosystems nurturing finance when they’ve reached a certain size, but that takes some time. That’s started, especially in terms of new-client acquisition, as it’s an area where we started out early. But the real benefits here have yet to show themselves.In 10 years we’ll just become a “technology-plus-finance” company. We’re already starting to show that. Technology’s contribution to revenue remains small to the company now, even though it’s already a big number—38.4 billion yuan [$5.4 billion] in revenue in the first half of this year from the 11 tech companies. But when we do better at the second and third steps, the contribution from technology will become bigger and bigger.BM: How does Ping An’s tech measure up with that of competitors around the world?JT: We now have 32,000 researchers, a combined 101,000 tech staff at the 11 tech units, more than 20,000 patents—96% are invention patents—and eight research institutes. In terms of input, our technology strength is unparalleled among financial institutions.Even compared to globally leading technology companies, we’re often even stronger in the area of finance. Some of our technologies are rarely seen or even impossible to find among financial institutions globally. Ping An OneConnect’s [fintech and cloud computing] products domestically are being used by 618 banks, 84 insurance companies, and nearly 3,000 other nonbanking financial institutions. In seven overseas markets, there are about 27 financial institutions using them, and most of them are relatively large financial institutions. So I believe we’re very competitive here.BM: What is the response to Ping An’s technology in the rest of Asia?JT: There’s a lot more demand than we expected. When OneConnect set up its overseas office [in Singapore] about one year ago, we thought a small office would do. Now it has more than 200 full-time employees [in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand].At present, demand is particularly strong in three areas. One is SME [small and midsize enterprise] financing, which is a very hot topic at home and abroad. Our advantage here is that we have the technology to truly aggregate many data to create risk profiles of small and medium-sized businesses. And since we’re a financial company ourselves, financial companies believe our model can work. And even if you don’t trust me, I can do it myself with my own money.The second one is personal finance, another area with very, very strong demand. The third area is efficiency improvement. Asia, in many places, still depends on people for sales, but we have a lot of sales management tools.We’ve done this ourselves. I can improve the productivity of 1.4 million agents; we absolutely can improve it for your people. As long as financial institutions want to do it, we’re a very good partner.Many people are worried that we’re competing with the local financial institutions, because Ping An has a reputation domestically of being strong. I would say, “Look, I’m just an enabler.”“After moving online, you can accumulate massive data as every step leaves a data trail”BM: How many potential unicorns are there in the company’s incubator, and what do they do?JT: It’s hard to say. Whether it’s 11 or any other number is not important. What’s more important is we do our job around those five areas [finance, health, auto, property, and the smart city]. For finance, Lufax and OneConnect are the main ones. One serves clients directly and the other enables the entire market. I guess there won’t be new ones. OneConnect will have more modules, while Lufax will become more and more efficient, with its wealth management robot popularizing wealth management services.The reason we now have 11 tech units is a management decision. It’s actually very hard for a company as big as we are to keep innovating and stay nimble. We encourage the use of small teams to try things out while coordinating among themselves with clear positions for everyone.BM: How much more can the insurance business do to achieve cost savings, efficiency improvements, and other value creation from technology?LEE YUAN SIONG: Using new technology to empower our business is a never-ending journey. We started earlier than others, have done more, and gone further, but that doesn’t mean we’re already close to the end. What we need to do is to always keep ahead of peers—moving faster and further, with them chasing behind us.In terms of specific indicators, our life insurance business, including internal management, is already 93% online and paperless. We can hit 100% within a year, but being online and paperless is no end to the application of technology. The four main business lines of property insurance are about 90% online and paperless and could also achieve 100% within a year.After moving online, you can accumulate massive data as every step leaves a data trail. Then you can digitalize, with data guiding your decisions for business operations, management to services, sales, and risk control. The third step is using AI to make judgments and decisions. We’ve seen clearly the benefits, and we’re just taking action to realize them in every aspect of the business.We’re pushing the group as well as the business units to, within 18 to 36 months, achieve full digitalization—with data driving management decisions at every step. We’ve been employing artificial intelligence in various scenarios for intelligent management, such as in auto claims settlement, pricing of property insurance, as well as the interviews of agents.The value can be seen in many ways, from enhanced customer satisfaction to better risk management and higher efficiency. Our auto insurance combined ratio is 3 percentage points lower than the industry’s, which is a long-term and direct impact. The nonperforming ratio of our loans is also very low.BM: You’ve said Ping An is undervalued because investors are underestimating the value of your technology. Could there be risks that investors are seeing but you aren’t?LYS: We’ve been building an integrated financial-services model, which is different from the universal banking seen abroad and has achieved very good results. From the growth in the number of clients and profit per client, you can see it’s actually a very successful model. We’ve been telling the capital market to see our potential value in the growth of our clients and per-client profit. That’s starting to be accepted by the market.The ecosystems are an upgrade of our entire technology segment. That includes the listings of the units, the tech products, which create direct value. Besides that, when the ecosystems enable our integrated financial services, it creates additional value and should add a premium to the valuation of our integrated financial services.Almost one-third of our new clients come from the ecosystems, and that’s why our client number keeps rising, to 196 million. Profit per client keeps rising and the number of products per client keeps increasing, too.The ecosystems are not yet included in the valuation models in the capital market. The value of the integrated finance is partly reflected—so the value of the core business isn’t fully reflected, either. So every segment has room. As to how much room, I won’t give guidance. It’s up to the capital market to assess.BM: How will autonomous driving affect auto insurance?LYS: It will have a relatively big impact on the current business conditions of auto insurance, which we must admit. How it’s going to change depends on, firstly, the advance of technology, and secondly, how the legal environment adapts to autonomous driving: how to assign responsibility when accidents occur—who’s responsible and how big is the responsibility. It’s going to change auto insurance, but it’s also going to bring opportunities, such as liability insurance.BM: How does Ping An compete with online insurance offerings from tech companies?LYS: Indeed, a lot of interpersonal communications and transactions are now taking place online, and that’s why we are moving onto the internet. We have massive offline forces and networks, but we’ve already moved online.Our life insurance Jin Guan Jia [or “golden housekeeper”] app has 220 million users. The property insurance unit’s Ping An Auto Owner app has more than 70 million users, and even the small health insurance unit has 10 million app users, and Lufax has more than 40 million users. So while we have huge offline forces, we’re actually very much internet-based already, with communication and interaction between clients and our agents, service staff, and managers taking place online highly efficiently.We focus on finance and health, and have deeper understanding about client needs in those two domains than pure e-commerce, social, or news-oriented internet platforms do. With our huge internet presence, our offline service networks are actually an advantage.We’re changing every year. When younger generations born after 1990 and 2000 become the main consumers, financial institutions need to understand how to interact and communicate in ways they like. So we’re prepared for the competition. There was simply no other option.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Dingmin Zhang in Beijing at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Christine Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jon AsmundssonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Markets) -- No one makes it to the top of a major financial company without a keen understanding of risk. So we asked leaders of investment banks, asset managers, insurers, and private equity firms for their assessments of the perils that await in 2020. As they see it, there’s plenty to worry about—but there are also ways to be ready.David SolomonChairman and Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.“I don’t think the biggest risks are related to the economy. There is a lot of uncertainty around the political landscape, which can cause businesses to hesitate on investment decisions. I wouldn’t say we’re going to talk ourselves into a recession, but uncertainty around the political landscape isn’t helping the economy or markets.“As we look out over the next several years, monetary policy will continue to be a big focus, and I believe we’ll look back and have lessons learned around the implications of negative rates.“We respond by staying focused on our clients and how we can help them navigate the challenges they face. And as a firm, we have a long-term strategy in place that we’re implementing, which is focused on harnessing growth opportunities in our existing businesses, building out new businesses such as consumer, and raising efficiency. Having said that, we have a 150-year history of adapting to dynamic operating environments.”Kewsong LeeCo-CEO, Carlyle Group LP“I am keeping an eye on the potential for a longer-term deterioration in the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and China. If the structural differences separating our two economic and political systems cannot be bridged over time, the ensuing escalation could lead to restrictions on investment and financial flows between our countries. Artificial restrictions on things like access to capital markets, cross-border investment, and asset ownership could slow economic growth and cause significant liquidity issues to emerge, with unpredictable and potentially deleterious market outcomes.“We remain focused on what we know we can control. This means investing for the long term, remaining disciplined and balanced, working with great partners, and deriving all we can from our global platform to help drive value creation regardless of periodic market disturbances or what’s going on politically.”Stephen SchwarzmanChairman and CEO, Blackstone Group Inc.“Economies around the world are slowing after a period of growth but are still showing resilience—particularly in the U.S. The global trend toward lower and even negative interest rates threatens to further damage growth and leave countries in a challenging position during the next downturn. But the biggest near-term risk remains geopolitical. Any number of seen or unforeseen issues could shake investor confidence and have an immediate negative impact. As I outline in my new book, What It Takes, Blackstone has built a culture that incorporates these downside risks into our decision-making, and it is important that governments, institutional investors, and companies alike do the same.”Anne RichardsCEO, Fidelity International“Negative bond yields are now of systemic concern. With central bank rates at their lowest levels and U.S. Treasuries at their richest valuations in 100 years, we appear to be close to bubble territory, but we don’t know how or when this bubble will burst. Central banks are under great pressure to support risk assets and risk sentiment, regardless of potential moral hazard. The eventual reversal of the continued downward trend in rates and yields could have highly disruptive ramifications—this is one reason that central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the [European Central Bank] have backtracked on hiking rates several times since the GFC [global financial crisis].“Another area of concern is liquidity. The frictionless flow of capital around the world is subject to increasing barriers. Examples such as the U.S.-China trade war and the EU-Swiss spat over the trading of listed securities show that political disagreements are spilling over into capital and trade restrictions. As capital becomes less free-flowing and confined to smaller pools, it will weaken the ability of the financial system to respond dynamically to unforeseen liquidity events, such as an unexpected counterparty failure.“This is the time to be an active manager who can dynamically monitor and adjust for potential systemic risks. We meet regularly to review our macro positioning and are focusing on quality in our stock and credit selection, leaning on our strength in fundamental, bottom- up corporate research. We are diversifying among styles, sectors, and regions, and are drawing on our ability to trade in different jurisdictions and time zones and ensuring the maturity of investment and borrowings are appropriately matched.”David HerroDeputy Chairman, Harris Associates“Any move—whether it be election results or other political actions—to cripple free-market capitalism and private property rights is the biggest risk. As an investor, the solution, as always, is to seek the highest-quality businesses and the lowest valuations.”Axel WeberChairman, UBS Group AG“I see a high number of risks in 2020. For example: the trade conflict between the U.S. and China, the Middle East conflict, Brexit, U.S. elections, or more generally a deepening of current economic weakness around the globe. However, it’s not these risks per se that worry me the most. Such downside risks are known challenges for which one can prepare. What worries me more is the unprecedented level of uncertainty associated with these risks. For example, I worry about the potential adverse consequences of a reversal of globalization, the side effects of the extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy of the last 10 years on financial and monetary stability, or the potential systemic consequences of cyberattacks. As a bank, we have to be aware and prepared for such risks in highly uncertain times. This is why we feel comfortable with our regionally and divisionally diversified businesses. It allows us to manage our risk exposure prudently and our financial resources responsibly.”Andreas UtermannCEO, Allianz Global Investors“One: Continued fragmentation of the neoliberal world order. For most of the postwar era, the world has benefited enormously from freer trade and less impeded capital flows. The winners clearly outnumbered the losers. It must be hoped that growing trade frictions do not end up shrinking the pie, making redistribution toward the losers of globalization more difficult, in turn further radicalizing politics.“Two: Monetary policy challenges. Falling and low inflation rates over the past 40 years were, among other reasons, the result of central banking having become less influenced by politics and globalization reducing the bargaining power of labor. In the face of persistently low inflation and central banks failing to meet their inflation target, there’s a risk that central bankers are blamed from all sides of the political spectrum—laying the ground for a repoliticization of monetary policy. Besides this, the challenge of how to exit QE [quantitative easing] in the context of a slowing global economy is becoming ever more daunting.“As a consequence of these significant risks and uncertainties, we are taking a very cost-conscious approach to 2020 and beyond.” To contact the authors of this story: Francine Lacqua in London at email@example.comJason Kelly in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgDaniel Schaefer in Frankfurt at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Christine Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jon AsmundssonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is...
Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has completed a periodic review of the ratings of CPIC Allianz Health Insurance Co. Ltd and other ratings that are associated with the same analytical unit. The review was conducted through a portfolio review in which Moody's reassessed the appropriateness of the ratings in the context of the relevant principal methodology(ies), recent developments, and a comparison of the financial and operating profile to similarly rated peers. This publication does not announce a credit rating action and is not an indication of whether or not a credit rating action is likely in the near future.
Allianz Global Investors said on Monday Tobias Pross, global head of distribution, would succeed Andreas Utermann as its chief executive officer from Jan. 1. The asset management company said Deborah Zurkow, global head of alternatives, would replace Utermann as global head of investments.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- European fund management companies spent 2018 watching their share prices steadily decline, battered by increased regulatory scrutiny, customers withdrawing money and the relentless squeezing of fees. They’ve rallied this year, but the industry’s biggest beast in the region is outpacing its peers by an astonishing margin.Investors in Amundi SA have enjoyed a total return of more than 60% in 2019, outpacing the Stoxx Europe 600 index by 35 percentage points. The stock has beaten the 32% gains at DWS Group GmbH and Standard Life Aberdeen Plc, the 39% return for Schroders Plc and Man Group Plc’s 19% rise.Amundi, 68 percent-owned by France’s Credit Agricole SA, recently announced record quarterly inflows of almost 43 billion euros ($48 billion) in the three months through September, breaking a streak of three consecutive quarters of client withdrawals. Its 1.6 trillion euros of assets under management — up from 952 billion euros when it listed on the stock market in November 2015 — make it Europe’s biggest money manager.The most impressive statistic, however, is the one element of Amundi’s financials over which it has most control: its costs.The company’s frugality has nudged its cost-to-income ratio lower in recent years; it fell to an industry-beating 51.1% at the end of the third quarter. By comparison, Deutsche Bank AG-controlled DWS aims to cut its ratio to 65% and doesn’t expect to achieve that until the end of 2021.What could knock Amundi off its perch? Well, DWS Chief Executive Officer Asoka Woehrmann told the Financial Times this month that he plans to challenge his rival’s dominance by finding a takeover or merger that would increase his firm’s 752 billion euros of assets. Earlier this year Switzerland’s UBS Group AG was reported to be considering strapping its fund management arm to DWS. Insurer Allianz SE was also said to be interested in the German investment firm. Any such deal would create a challenger with the scale to match Amundi.But the French fund giant’s CEO Yves Perrier is unlikely to just stand by if industry consolidation begins. Now that he’s finished absorbing Pioneer Investments, a fund management unit bought from Italy’s UniCredit SpA for 3.5 billion euros in 2017, the decks are clear. While these mega-mergers might not happen, Amundi is well placed if they do. With its shares trading at their highest in more than 18 months, Perrier has the currency to fund a deal.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gilbert at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
German insurer Allianz on Friday posted a better-than-expected 0.6% rise in third-quarter net profit, helped by investment result and a lower tax rate, and said 2019 operating profit would be in the upper half of its targeted range. Net profit attributable to shareholders of 1.95 billion euros ($2.16 billion) compares with a forecast of 1.84 billion euro by analysts in a Refinitiv poll and is up from 1.94 billion euros a year earlier. "We are ready to reach the upper half of our operating profit outlook despite a significant increase in external challenges," Chief Executive Officer Oliver Baete said.
French insurer AXA will sell its Belgian banking business - AXA Belgium - to cooperative bank Crelan for 620 million euros ($688.51 million), the company said on Friday. Under Chief Executive Thomas Buberl, AXA is undergoing a deep restructuring aimed at making the French group more international and stronger on health and property and damage insurance. Crelan, which will become Belgium's fifth-largest lender after the deal, will pay 540 million euros in cash to AXA for its Belgian banking unit.