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Axa prepares 2 bln euro rights issue

Source: Reuters - Mon 9th Nov 2009

French insurer Axa is readying a 2 billion euro (1.8 billion pound) rights issue that could be launched as early as later on Monday, British newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported.

The insurer is planning the capital raising to fund potential acquisitions, the paper said. Bankers at BNP Paribas and HSBC have been appointed to work on the capital raising, it reported.

An Axa spokesman in the UK, contacted by Reuters, referred enquiries about the story to a Paris-based company spokesman, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

The move follows assurances by Axa that the company did not need to tap shareholders for money, the newspaper said. Axa is likely to explain that the denials related to questions over Axa's financial strength rather than funding growth opportunities, the paper added.

A source close to AXA said the final go-ahead was subject to board approval and that there was a small chance that it could be cancelled, the Telegraph reported.

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