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PARIS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - AXA, France's biggest insurer, posted a 4 percent increase in 2016 net income, as stronger earnings from property insurance coverage and a recovery in its life and savings business helped to offset weakness in asset management.
Net income rose to 5.83 billion euros ($6.2 billion) in 2016, compared with 5.62 billion in the same period last year, AXA said on Thursday. This was slightly below the average of analyst estimates of 5.86 billion in a Reuters poll.
In the face of falling yields on its investments, AXA aims to increase earnings per share by 3 to 7 percent a year over the 2016-2020 period, seeking to lift profitability through tariff hikes and higher-margin products while reducing its costs.
AXA said underlying earnings per share rose 4 percent, "despite continued low interest rates and market volatility".
"We are on track on the headline targets of our Ambition 2020 plan," the insurer said in a statement.
$1 = 0.9465 euros Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta