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Businesses deliver solid underlying growth and no material impairments to Aegon's investments in 2007

The Hague, March 6, 2008

During 2007, Aegon's businesses delivered solid performance, as demonstrated by increased sales, deposits and growth in underlying operating earnings.

Solid Q4 results masked by one-off factors in comparable period

  • Net operating earnings and net underlying earnings impacted mainly by currency and significant one-time tax benefits in 2006

  • Underlying earnings before tax up 9% and 16% at constant currency, reflecting solid business progress

  • Net income down 26% to EUR 648 million due to lower net operating earnings

  • Revenue generating investments grew by 2% and 11% at constant currency reflecting continued growth of existing business and the acquisition of the Merrill Lynch Life Insurance Companies

No material impairments on investments

  • Total net impairments on investments of EUR 17 million in Q4 reflecting the high quality of Aegon's investment portfolio
  • No impairments on the subprime portfolio of EUR 2.9 billion 
  • EUR 487 million total negative pre-tax revaluations on the subprime and near prime US housing related investments and CDOs through shareholders' equity 

A year with strong underlying new business and earnings growth

  • Value of new business increased 20% to EUR 927 million on track to deliver on the increased target of EUR 1.25 billion by 2010

  • Net operating earnings 4% down and up 1% at constant currency

  • Net underlying earnings up 4% and 9% at constant currency, while underlying earnings before tax increased by 9% and 14% at constant currency

  • Net income of EUR 2.6 billion decreased by 20% mainly as result of lower non-operating earnings in the Netherlands 

  • New life sales up 7% and deposits up 14% 

Strong cash and capital position support enhanced dividend

  • Final dividend increased to EUR 0.32, resulting in an increase of the full year dividend of 13% to EUR 0.62 per share, reflecting strong cash flow and capital position

View the performance indicators Q4 2007.

For notes see page 27 of the full press release.

 

Chairman's overview

"During 2007, Aegon's businesses delivered solid performance, as demonstrated by increased sales, deposits and growth in underlying operating earnings.

Aegon continues to maintain its strong financial position. Despite the turbulence currently underway in world financial markets, we experienced no material impairments to Aegon's investment portfolio during the year, nor did we have any impairments related to our subprime mortgage-backed securities during the year. Aegon's subprime portfolio, totaling EUR 2.9 billion, continues to be high quality with over 99% rated double- and triple-A.

Net operating earnings for the year were stable at constant currency exchange rates and net underlying earnings were up 9% by the same measure, a reflection of solid business performance. Net income in 2007 declined mainly as a result of lower non-operating earnings in the Netherlands. Revenue generating investments increased 2% or 11% at constant currency exchange rates, reflecting the continued growth of our existing business, in addition to the acquisition of the Merrill Lynch life companies last December.

The better-than-expected progress our businesses made in the Americas, Europe and Asia toward Aegon's 2010 value of new business target led us to increase the target by 14% to EUR 1.25 billion. This fourth consecutive year of VNB growth resulted in a record EUR 927 million in 2007.

The completion of a EUR 1 billion share repurchase plan in November and the 13% increase in Aegon's full year dividend to EUR 0.62 per common share are evidence of our continued strong cash flows and solid capital position. At the same time, we continue to have sufficient capital to support the organic growth of our businesses while pursuing acquisition opportunities that are consistent with our pricing discipline.

We further strengthened Aegon's distribution network with our new partnership with Barclays in the United Kingdom; an agreement with one of Taiwan's leading banks, Taishin; an asset management joint venture with China's Industrial Securities; and a fourth regional bank partnership in Spain with Caja Cantabria. Aegon's partnership with Merrill Lynch will serve to enhance Aegon's position as a leading provider of life insurance and variable annuity products in the United States.

I am very grateful to the Supervisory Board for having had the opportunity to lead Aegon as Chairman these past several years. Along with my Executive Board and Management Board colleagues, we have focused on improving Aegon's solid balance sheet, enhancing the Group's distribution strength, expanding Aegon's global footprint, and positioning our businesses to capture continued growth in both our established and developing markets. I also wish to thank our many distribution partners and our 30,000 employees whose dedication and commitment justifies the trust of our customers in helping them create better futures for themselves and their families.

Finally, I welcome the selection of Alex Wynaendts to lead Aegon into its next phase of growth during what will continue to be an exciting time for the life insurance and pensions business internationally."