The fundamentals of Aegon's businesses remain strong, as demonstrated by significant increases in the value of new business (VNB) and continued improvement in the internal rate of return during the first quarter of 2007.
VALUE OF NEW BUSINESS FOR Q1 2007 INCREASES TO EUR 232 MILLION
- Broad based contribution to Value of New Business growth; Aegon UK leads growth with 77%* increase in VNB
- Aegon's internal rate of return increases to 17.9% compared to 14.7% in the first quarter of 2006
- The internal rate of return in Aegon The Netherlands meets the internal hurdle rate
NEW LIFE SALES1 INCREASE 20%; TOTAL DEPOSITS INCREASED BY 21%
- Record sales in the UK and Poland lead growth
- New life sales in Americas increase 15%* due to higher sales to institutions
- Total deposits in the Americas increased 39%*
FIRST QUARTER 2007 NET INCOME EUR 485 MILLION
- Strong underlying development of earnings offset by release of guarantee provisions in the Netherlands in 2006 and lower earnings from fair value items
OPERATING EARNINGS BEFORE TAX EUR 614 MILLION
- Operating earnings lower as earnings in 2006 were positively affected by EUR 205 million release of provisions for guarantees for unit-linked products in the Netherlands
- Operating earnings before tax in the Americas slightly lower due to lower earnings from fair value items
- UK and Other countries report higher operating earnings before tax
NON-OPERATING EARNINGS BEFORE TAX EUR 22 MILLION
Gains in the Americas and the Netherlands largely offset by EUR 258 million decrease of market value of derivatives used for hedging in the Netherlands
* In local currency
1 New life sales refers to standardized new premium production and is defined as new recurring premium + 1/10 single premium
View here the Highlights first three months 2007.
Note: This press release includes non-GAAP financial measures: net operating earnings, operating earnings before tax and value of new business. The reconciliation of net operating earnings and operating earnings before tax to the most comparable GAAP measure and an explanation for its use is provided on page 29 (see related documents for the full version). Value of new business is not based on IFRS, which are used to report Aegon's quarterly statements and should not be viewed as a substitute for IFRS financial measures. On pages 22 and 23 (see the full version), a further breakdown is given and reference is made to the assumptions included in the Embedded Value disclosure document. Aegon believes the value of new business, together with the set of interim IFRS financial statements included in appendix I, provides a meaningful measure for the investment community to evaluate Aegon's business relative to the businesses of our peers.
"The fundamentals of Aegon's businesses remain strong, as demonstrated by significant increases in the value of new business (VNB) and continued improvement in the internal rate of return during the first quarter of 2007," said Aegon Chairman and CEO Donald J. Shepard. "These developments reflect our ongoing commitment to ensuring long-term profitability. Furthermore, our progress toward doubling Aegon's value of new business by 2010 continues to be better than expected.
"Beginning this quarter, Aegon is reporting its results based on new lines of business. Together with additional financial information provided last month, this approach better reflects the way we manage our businesses and offers greater insight into the performance of key growth areas such as pensions.
"The 42% first quarter increase in value of new business for the Group reflects strong results across our businesses, particularly in the United Kingdom where VNB increased 77% in local currency due to both higher production and a more profitable mix of business. Aegon The Netherlands reported a VNB increase of 67% over the first quarter of 2006. In addition, the internal rate of return on new business in the Netherlands increased to 13.4%, surpassing our hurdle rate of 11%. In the Americas, VNB increased 48% in local currency, largely reflecting increased sales to institutions. In Aegon's Other countries, value of new business increased 21% over the first quarter of 2006. Aegon's joint ventures with savings banks in Spain and the continued record sales in Poland were significant contributors to this increase.
"The underlying development of operating earnings remains strong. The decline in first quarter operating earnings for the Group was due primarily to a reduction of earnings in the Dutch organization. In the comparable quarter last year, we released provisions as a result of the positive impact of rising interest rates in the Netherlands. Partially off-setting the decline, net operating earnings in the UK increased 25%. The UK reported record new life sales with an increase of 37% in the first quarter. In the Americas, net operating earnings increased by 3% helped by the growth of our pension business, our life and protection business, as well as a lower effective tax rate. Returns on hedge funds and other fair valued assets declined from high levels in 2006. Excluding these fair valued assets, operating earnings before tax increased 12% in local currency. Aegon's businesses in Other countries, which include Central and Eastern Europe, other parts of Europe and Asia, achieved a record quarter, reflecting the progress of our businesses in these important growth markets.
"Today Aegon has also published its embedded value for 2006, which increased 8% over 2005, or 13% at constant currency exchange rates. While our businesses performed well on an operating basis, demonstrated by the strength of the enforce book of business, embedded value was adversely impacted by a weak US dollar during the year. Aegon's embedded value operating margin showed a solid improvement to 11.2% over 7.8% in 2005.
"Overall, Aegon's businesses continued to make good progress at the start of this year. The significant increases in the value of new business and internal rate of return are a clear indication of our disciplined approach to ensuring profitable growth. The fundamentals of Aegon's business continue to be strong and our investment in new growth areas is demonstrating the creation of long-term value."