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Aegon posts Q4 loss of £167m

Aegon has posted its first ever loss for the fourth quarter of £167m across the international group, as it put aside £922m of extra capital.

UK life and pensions saw record new business figures, up 3 per cent for the full year to £1.22bn and by 5 per cent for the fourth quarter to £289m.

But UK earnings before tax were down 72 per cent in Q4 to £13m from £47m during the same period of 2007, as a result of lower fund charges in the pension business.

UK distribution, including the insurer’s two adviser businesses Origen and Positive Solutions, made a £1m loss compared to a loss of £7m in 2007.

Aegon is targeting cost savings in this sector as part of £139m of savings across the whole group planned for 2009, and says it has already taken measures to change the way that incentive schemes for these businesses are valued for accounting purposes.

UK annuities new business was up 21 per cent and individual protection new business was up 10 per cent to £52m.

UK life and pensions market share reached 10 per cent, ahead of Aegon’s target of 2010 for achieving this position.

UK chief executive Otto Thoresen says: “Aegon UK has continued to deliver increased levels of profitable new business, despite very challenging market conditions.

“We are pleased with what we achieved last year, with growth in the core areas of group pensions, annuities and protection.

“Our diversified product range brings resilience to the potential for new business growth.”

Thoresen adds: “The need for a strong and thriving long term savings industry in the UK is more pressing than ever before, and the long term opportunities for our business are attractive. AEGON UK is well placed to weather the current storm.”

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