Monumental's parent posts gain in '94

April 01, 1995|By David Conn | David Conn,Sun Staff Writer Bloomberg Business News contributed to this article.

AEGON N.V., the Dutch-based parent of Baltimore insurer Monumental General Insurance Group, posted a better-than-expected earnings increase in 1994, thanks to a strong showing in the fourth quarter.

The company said yesterday that it earned $632 million (1.2 billion Netherlands guilders) last year, 17 percent higher than the $541 million earned in 1993.

L Earnings per share rose to $6.15, from $5.20 a year earlier.

AEGON had told analysts this week to expect earnings more than 12 percent higher than 1993's.

The company's American Depositary Receipts gained $1.375 yesterday in trading on the New York Stock Exchange, to close at $71.50.

But its shares on the Dutch bourse, where the overall market was lower yesterday, fell 2 guilders, to 109.8 guilders.

For the fourth quarter, AEGON earned $182 million, or $1.77 a share, 28 percent more than the $142 million, or $1.39 a share, it earned in the fourth quarter of 1993.

"We were successful in every respect, and 1995 is developing as expected," Chairman Kees Storm said at a news conference in The Hague.

The company's Baltimore-based U.S. arm, called AEGON USA, accounted for 42 percent of operating income last year. U.S. profits were up 10 percent over 1993's, Treasurer Robert J. McGraw said.

Some businesses did better. Earnings of AEGON's asset accumulation group, with locations in Florida, Iowa and New York, were up 13 percent, Mr. McGraw said.

The Monumental General group in Baltimore did 12 percent better than in 1993, Mr. McGraw said.

AEGON, which has about 850 employees here, does not break down earnings by business group.

Revenues last year were up 11.7 percent company wide, to $11.3 billion from $10.1 billion a year earlier.

Fourth-quarter revenues declined just over 20 percent, to $2.8 billion.

But a sharp increase in life insurance profits, by far the largest share of earnings, made up the difference.

The company also announced that it plans to raise the percentage of income that will be paid in the form of dividends to 50.9 percent of operating profits from 47 percent.

That means that the 1994 annual dividend, to be recommended for a vote by shareholders at the annual meeting on May 9, will rise to 4.85 guilders a share ($2.67) from 4 guilders a share ($2.20) in 1993.

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