(Releads with lower average growth target)
AMSTERDAM, June 19 (Reuters) - Dutch life insurer Aegon on Wednesday lowered its average growth target for underlying earnings before tax, blaming the low interest rate environment.
As recently as June 5, Aegon had stuck to its ambition of increasing underlying earnings before tax by between 7 and 10 percent on average over the period 2010 to 2015.
But on Wednesday it said it expected growth on average of 4 to 7 percent over the period 2010 to 2015, and that it would achieve its original target on average later in the period.
“In light of the historically low interest rate environment, Aegon is currently on a trajectory to deliver an increase in underlying earnings before tax of between 4-7 percent over the period 2010-2015 and 7-10 percent from 2012 to 2015,” Aegon said in a statement.
Life insurers typically invest a substantial amount of received insurance premiums in government and corporate bonds, which have seen yields drop in the past few years due to loose monetary policy in the United States, Japan and Europe.
Aegon also said it had to do more to achieve its return on equity target of 10 to 12 percent by 2015 because it was currently only expecting to achieve 8 to 10 percent.
“Management...affirms its ambition to achieve a return on equity of 10-12 percent and recognizes that additional actions are required to do so,” Aegon said. (Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Sara Webb)