Aegon plans €1bn rights issue and US insurance sale to repay Dutch state aid

 
City A.M. Reporter
DUTCH life insurer Aegon is to raise about €1bn (£850m) from a share issue to help repay €2.25bn of state aid by the middle of the year.

The repayment would free Aegon from EC restrictions imposed on companies that received government cash during the credit crisis.

“After repayment the limitations that were imposed on us will disappear,” Aegon’s chief executive, Alex Wynaendts said, adding “we can put the crisis behind us”.

The removal of state shackles will allow Aegon and other Dutch financial services groups to go on the prowl once again for acquisitions and give them more room to compete.

The Dutch government paid nearly €40bn to rescue the domestic financial sector in 2008 when it provided capital injections for Aegon, ING, and SNS Reaal and was forced to nationalise ABN AMRO.

Aegon received €3bn of state aid in 2008.

The company said its share issue of 173.6m shares – about 10 per cent of its common share capital – would begin yesterday via an accelerated book build.

Aegon, also one of the top 10 life insurers in the US, where it owns Transamerica, said in a statement it was in talks with one party to sell the reinsurance unit of Transamerica, a plan which it had announced last year.