AMSTERDAM, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Dutch insurer Aegon reported much better-than-expected fourth-quarter net profit, citing higher underlying earnings, gains on investments, lower impairments and book gains on divestments.
Quarterly net income rose more than five times to 422 million euros ($563 million) from 81 million euros a year ago, above a forecast for 331 million euros in a Reuters poll.
Underlying earnings rose 29 percent to 447 million euros. Analysts in a poll commissioned by Reuters had forecast underlying pre-tax profit of 443 million euros.
Aegon said it had agreed with an association, Vereniging Aegon, to cancel all of Aegon's preferred shares, of which the association is the sole owner.
Aegon said the cancellation was intended to simplify its capital structure. Under the agreement, all of Aegon's preferred shares will be exchanged for cash and common shares.