Aegon hires PROs for shares deal

Aegon, the fifth largest insurance firm in the world, has hired the Maitland Consultancy to handle PR for the biggest share placement scheme in Europe this year.

Maitland was hired in the middle of last week and immediately had to deal with a press leak concerning the refinancing package.

The share placement scheme is being undertaken by Aegon's controlling shareholder, Vereniging Aegon, the association that arose from the company's demutualisation in 1978.

Maitland organised a press conference last Sunday to announce the transaction - a cash call worth around £2.35bn - to the media.

'We need to make sure the media and analysts understand the Vereniging association is a shareholder in the company and it is not the company itself,' said Maitland partner William Clutterbuck.

'The message we are hoping to get across is that Aegon is doing this from a position of strength not weakness,' he added.

After previously recording annual profit increases, Aegon issued its first-ever profits warning in July. Its shares have lost two-thirds of their value this year.

Clutterbuck is working with chairman Angus Maitland and consultant Alastair Crabbe on the account.

The Maitland team reports to Aegon chairman Donald Shepard, who is based in The Hague, Holland, and Cedar Falls in the US.

Aegon - which bought Scottish Equitable in 1993 - has a market value of around £12bn and manages assets with a total value of around £160bn.

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