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Dow Jones Newswires: Aegon to combine Dutch operations with ASR Nederland; to return $1.5 billion to shareholders

Aegon NV
AGN,
-0.21%

said Thursday that it will combine its Dutch operations with insurance company ASR Nederland NV
ASRNL,
-0.28%

and that it will return 1.5 billion euros ($1.51 billion) to shareholders.

The Dutch insurance, pensions and asset-management company said it will receive a 29.99% strategic holding in ASR Nederland as well as EUR2.5 billion in cash proceeds, and that it expects the transaction to close in the second half of 2023.

Aegon said the agreement will allow it to accelerate its strategy and that it represented a major step in its ambition to become a leader in its chosen markets.

The company said it will also use proceeds to reduce leverage by up to EUR700 million, and that this is consistent with its disciplined capital management approach.

Progress made on its transformation allowed Aegon to increase its 2023 dividend target to 0.30 European cents a share from 0.25 European cents.

Aegon said all other financial targets will be updated in due course.

“Customers of both companies will benefit from a more diversified product offering and strong distribution,” Chief Executive Lard Friese said.

Write to Anthony O. Goriainoff at anthony.orunagoriainoff@dowjones.com

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