AXA recorded another strong operational performance in 2019. Revenues were up 5% to Euro 104 billion, with growth across all lines of business and geographies.
In 2019, the Group achieved a 5% increase in underlying earnings per share, with high technical profitability across all our businesses. Based on the strong operational performance and the strength of AXA’s balance sheet, the Board of Directors is proposing a dividend of Euro 1.43 per share, an increase of 7% from last year, which corresponds to a payout ratio of 52%.
The Group achieved a significant milestone in 2019 in its strategy to shift its profile away from financial markets and towards technical risk, by fully exiting the US Life & Savings market and integrating the XL Group, and at the same time reducing its debt gearing ratio. At AXA XL, impacted again by adverse claims experience in 2019, we are recording strong price increases and taking further steps to reduce volatility. I am also very happy to welcome Scott Gunter to the AXA Group to drive the next phase of development of AXA XL.
AXA’s active leadership role in fighting climate change also continued, as a global investor, a global insurer, and as a coalition builder. In 2019, AXA doubled its green investments target, launched transition bonds as a new asset class, further strengthened its coal underwriting policy, established AXA Climate and joined the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance.
I would like to thank all our colleagues and partners who have been working together to deliver these results and transformative achievements, as well as our clients for their continued trust.