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Global News - AXA Group divests assets in the tobacco industry

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jul 2016

The AXA Group has decided to divest its tobacco industry assets, currently valued at approximately EUR1.8 billion, in line with the positive role it believes insurance can play in society, said Mr Thomas Buberl, Deputy CEO and incoming CEO of AXA. 
   AXA will sell its equity holdings in tobacco companies immediately, a value which is expected to be around EUR200 million and it will stop all new investments in tobacco industry corporate bonds and run off its existing tobacco industry bond holdings, currently valued at approximately EUR1.6 billion. 
   AXA noted that tobacco consumption is the major cause of long term non-communicable diseases, that it kills 6 million people per year today, a figure that is expected to rise to 8 million by 2030, mostly in developing countries. 
   Mr Buberl said: “We strongly believe in the positive role insurance can play in society, and that insurers are part of the solution when it comes to health prevention to protect our clients. With this divestment from tobacco, we are doing our share to support the efforts of governments around the world. This decision has a cost for us, but the case for divestment is clear: the human cost of tobacco is tragic; its economic cost is huge. As a major investor and a leading health insurer, the AXA Group wants to be part of the solution, and our hope is that others in our industry will do the same.”
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