Aegon set to repay state

DUTCH insurer Aegon yesterday said it would repay &euro;1bn (&pound;896m) of state aid pumped into it last year.<br /><br />The company, which sealed a deal for state assistance in October last year, said it would give back the remaining &euro;2bn &ldquo;at the earliest possible opportunity&rdquo;.<br /><br />Aegon saves between &euro;350m to &euro;375m in premium payments by repaying the money. <br /><br />It received the government money after its share price plummeted and investments lost value as the global financial crisis hit. <br /><br />Aegon first announced its intention to repay the state in August when it raised &euro;1bn in an equity issue.<br /><br />Chief executive Alex Wynaendts said: &ldquo;It continues to be our intention to fully repay the Dutch State at the earliest opportunity &ndash; and this is a first step toward doing so.<br /><br />&ldquo;Aegon&rsquo;s strong excess capital position and the improved economic outlook support our decision to exercise the option of early repayment.&rdquo;<br /><br />Under the terms of Aegon&rsquo;s agreement with the Dutch State, the premium for repayment amounts to a maximum of 13 per cent depending on the volume weighted average share price of Aegon shares on the five trading days from 23 November.<br /><br />The government also appointed two directors to Aegon&rsquo;s supervisory board to oversee auditing, compensation and nominations as part of the deal. Aegon&rsquo;s senior management gave up all performance-based income in cash, options or shares in 2008.<br /><br />Dutch financial group ING&nbsp; also received a &euro;10bn cash injection as part of the strategy to dig the country out of financial turmoil.