By Maria Armental
French insurance company AXA SA has filed preliminary documents for an initial public offering of its U.S. life-insurance operations.
The insurance group, which would keep the sale proceeds and retain control of the company, has said the listing would give more flexibility to its U.S. arm, which includes AXA Equitable Holdings Inc. and a majority stake in fund manager AllianceBernstein Holding LP.
Following the planned IPO, the portion of the AllianceBernstein business not controlled by AXA would remain a separate publicly traded entity.
The Wall Street Journal reported in May that AXA was interested in pursuing an IPO for its U.S. arm.
The decision comes as profitability in the industry has been hurt by low interest rates following the financial crisis.
AXA Equitable Holdings, filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said it planned to raise up to $100 million in its IPO. However the $100 million figure is often used as a placeholder to determine filing fees and is often changed. The filing didn't contain information on which exchange shares would trade.
AXA Equitable Holdings on Monday said it earned a profit of $265 million in the first six months of 2017, down from $1.66 billion from the comparable 2016 period. Excluding investment gains and losses and other items, operating earnings stood at $641 million as of June 30, up from $523 million in the year-ago period.
Revenue fell 15% to $7.02 billion.
The company would have a book value -- or assets minus liabilities -- of roughly $14.87 billion, according to the filing.
AXA Equitable Holdings is one of America's oldest life insurers, founded in 1859 in New York, and was long known as Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. AXA acquired it in 1992.
AXA's move follows MetLife Inc.'s spinoff of its insurance operation.
Manulife Financial Corp. is also considering a spinoff or IPO of the Boston-based John Hancock Financial Services unit.
Write to Maria Armental at [email protected]