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Aegon (AEG) Closes Hungarian Unit Divestment, Plans Buybacks

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Aegon N.V. (AEG - Free Report) recently closed its divestment of the Hungarian unit for €620 million (slightly more than $681 million) to the Austrian insurance group, Vienna Insurance Group AG Wiener Versicherung Gruppe. The deal faced roadblocks from the Hungarian government in the initial stages but managed to pull through. The Hungarian state-run company, Corvinus, is expected to receive a 45% stake in the acquirer’s business in the country.

In 2020, the Dutch insurer, Aegon, announced a divestment deal of €830 million, which included its insurance, pension and asset management businesses spread across Central and Eastern Europe. With the sale of its Hungarian business, AEG moves a step closer to its full divestment plan. Further, the company expects to complete its divestments of the Polish, Romanian and Turkish businesses this year.

The divestments are in line with Aegon’s strategy to focus more on its profitable core operations and improve the balance sheet with debt reduction. The proceeds from the deal enabled Aegon to announce a €375 million tender offer for debt repayment and reach its deleveraging target much before the scheduled date in 2023.

Also, AEG intends to utilize the surplus amount to boost shareholder value through a €300 million share repurchase program. Aegon plans to start the repurchase program on Apr 1 and finish by this year-end. The company expects the first tranche of the program, valued at €100 million, to close within the June quarter of 2022.

Price Performance

Aegon has rallied 13% in the past year against a 6.3% decline of the industry it belongs to.

Zacks Investment Research
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Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Aegon currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks from the finance space include Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF - Free Report) , First American Financial Corp. (FAF - Free Report) and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Based in Fairfield, OH, Cincinnati Financial’s consistent cash flow and sufficient cash balance continue to boost liquidity. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Cincinnati Financial’s first-quarter 2022 bottom line indicates an 8% year-over-year rise. CINF beat earnings estimates in each of the last four quarters, with an average of 38.5%.

First American Financial has been generating improving revenues over the years due to growing direct premiums and escrow fees and title agent premiums. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for First American Financial’s 2022 bottom line has improved 2.2% in the past 30 days. FAF beat earnings estimates in each of the last four quarters, with an average of 29.4%.

Berkshire Hathaway is expected to benefit from disciplined capital management and acquisitions. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Berkshire Hathaway’s bottom line for 2022 indicates a 6.1% year-over-year rise. Headquartered in Omaha, NE, BRK.B beat earnings estimates thrice in the last four quarters and missed the same once, with an average surprise of 11.9%.