Aegon continues strong operational performance and announces EUR 1 billion share repurchase program
August 09, 2007, 2:00 CEST
Donald J. Shepard, chairman of the Executive Board of Aegon N.V.: "The increases we are reporting in net operating eimprovement in our internal rate of return, indicate that Aegon's businesses performed well during the second quarter."
* 2007 is compared to pro forma data for 2006. These figures are presented after the change in accounting principles and after the change in definition of operating earnings to include our share in net results of associates and exclude the effect of any movements in the fair value of guarantees, as would have been the case had Aegon The Netherlands' hedge program been in place for 2006. Net income is, however, only affected by the change in the accounting principles. See also table Financial Overview on page 3 of the full release and Aegon's press release of 24 July 2007 (see related documents on the right).
"The increases we are reporting today in net operating earnings, new life sales, value of new business and continued improvement in our internal rate of return, indicate that Aegon's businesses performed well during the second quarter.
"The 22% increase in net operating earnings for the quarter reflects growth across all geographies and most lines of business. This growth was partially offset by a weaker US dollar. The strong performance of Aegon's investment portfolio, as well as the organic growth of our business contributed to the increase in our earnings.
"The value of new business generated for the Group increased 28% in the quarter with all Aegon's country units contributing to the increase.
"A record quarter in the United Kingdom helped the Group achieve sales growth of 9% in the second quarter, as did continued strong sales in Poland and the bank partnerships in Spain. In Taiwan, we also experienced strong sales of unit-linked products, continuing our successful shift away from more traditional life products.
"In the Americas, we were pleased by the 12% increase in variable annuity sales during the quarter, with May being the highest since 2003. Retail sales increased 11% in the second quarter, helped by particularly strong sales within our agency channel, continuing a trend first seen in the fourth quarter of last year.
"Due primarily to higher pension sales, new life sales in the Netherlands showed a 6% increase. Late last month, we announced a change in accounting principles with regard to the valuation of guarantees on certain products in the Netherlands, ensuring that our financial statements better reflect the economic matching of assets and liabilities.
"Within Aegon UK, new life sales increased 9% over the year-ago period, resulting in another record quarter for our UK business. The increase reflects strong growth across most product lines, including continued increases in pension sales post-A day.
"Given continuing concerns over investments backed by sub-prime mortgages in the United States, it is worth emphasizing that our portfolio has been structured to weather a stressful credit environment. The majority of our sub-prime exposure is backed by fixed-rate mortgages and is rated triple-A. None of our holdings was included in the recent rating agency downgrades. We have insignificant exposure to subprime Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs). Aegon will continue to closely monitor developments in this market, but does not expect material impairments to its holdings."
"We have also enhanced shareholder return with a EUR 1 billion share buy-back and an increased interim dividend. The return of excess capital to shareholders will not hamper Aegon's ability to invest in the growth of its businesses or to accomplish add-on acquisitions.
"In summary, our businesses in the Americas, Europe, and Asia achieved further progress toward the goal we outlined last year to double the value of new business by 2010. Improvements in earnings, sales and profitability indicate that the performance of Aegon's businesses remains strong."