As it turns out, insurance company consolidation isn’t just an American phenomenon. France’s AXA, Europe’s second largest insurer, announced a $15.3 billion bid to scoop up XL Group in March. Combining the global insurance and reinsurance outfits would create, the companies’ executives argue, a worldwide powerhouse in the property and casualty insurance sector. For the moment, investors may be a bit apprehensive about the size of the deal (AXA shares have fallen some 15% year-to-date); but AXA has a reputation for delivering the goods when it comes to shareholder dividend payouts, which currently hold a yield of more than 6%.
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