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Fitch downgrades Aegon’s hybrid debt

Fitch Ratings has downgraded Aegon’s hybrid debt instruments to ‘BB’ from ‘BBB+’ and maintained them on rating watch negative.

The downgrade and negative watch reflect Fitch’s review of the risk of coupon deferral on these instruments.

Fitch says its review took into account recent developments, in particular comments published by the European Commission on the concept of burden sharing for state-aided financial institutions.

Aegon received £2.5bn of support from the Dutch Government in December.

Fitch says it views positively Aegon’s recent raising of £860m of equity, with which it intends to repay part of the Government support.

It will monitor the ratings implications of Aegon’s viability plan and ongoing discussions with the EC.

The rating action on Aegon’s hybrids is consistent with actions taken or expected on the hybrids of several financial institutions that are subject to government support, Fitch says.

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