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Aegon forms pensions venture with Romania's Banca Transilvania

Aegon NV, the second-largest Dutch insurer, and Banca Transilvania SA agreed to form a pensions joint venture in Romania.

The pension company will be established later this year as Romania prepares to introduce a mandatory pension system by early 2008, The Hague-based Aegon NV said in an e-mailed statement today. Aegon will also set up a life-insurance company in Romania, which will have a distribution agreement with Banca Transilvania SA to sell products through its 340 branches.

Aegon is targeting pensions business in Italy, Germany, Romania and the Ukraine as it continues to grow in the Netherlands and the US. The Dutch insurer said in November it aims to double the value of new business to €1.1 billion ($1.4 billion) by 2010 as demand for pensions grows. „This new partnership continues our focus on developing Aegon's presence throughout the central and eastern European region, where we believe we can achieve above average growth over the next several years,” CEO Don Shepard said in the statement.

The new pension venture will be 50% owned by each company and will be based in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár), Romania. Products associated with retirement are likely to spur Aegon's growth in the future. The highest annual growth rates will be in central and eastern Europe and Asia, which will come to represent as much as 30% of total new business, Shepard said in November. Aegon has been expanding through purchases and joint ventures in faster-growing markets, including India, Mexico and Spain. It is also seeking to expand in life insurance and pensions in Japan, Italy and Germany. (Bloomberg)