On a comparable basis (at constant Forex):
Henri de Castries
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of AXA (2000-2016)
We are pleased to have successfully delivered on Ambition AXA, which has made the Group more resilient, efficient and agile, from the balance sheet to the brand. It has been a collective achievement and I would like to warmly thank our clients for their trust and our teams and distributors for their unwavering commitment.
2015 was yet another year of strong earnings for AXA, with underlying earnings reaching their highest level ever at Euro 5.6 billion. In this context, the Board of Directors is proposing a dividend of Euro 1.10 per share, an increase of 16% versus last year, which corresponds to a payout ratio of 47%, in line with the new guidance of the Group.
In Life & Savings, we continued to grow our earnings, benefiting from our disciplined business mix, and notably we preserved our investment margin despite the low rate environment. In Property & Casualty, we maintained our underwriting discipline which translated into a strong technical result. We also continued to see strong positive net flows in Asset Management. Our gearing and solvency ratios remained well within our target range, underlining the strength of our balance sheet.
Following the successful completion of Ambition AXA, the Group comes out of the 2011-2015 period stronger than ever despite the headwinds encountered. We remained focused on protecting our clients and in successfully increasing their satisfaction. In order to achieve sustained growth and continue to deliver value for all of our stakeholders, we are actively engaged in multiple initiatives to transform and adapt the Group to the rapid pace of technological change and to the evolving expectations of our clients. This, combined with our financial strength, means we are well positioned to take up this challenge.