Underlying earnings before tax
AEGON's underlying earnings before tax increased 10% to EUR 443 million in the second quarter of 2012. This is the result of business growth, a strong delivery on cost reduction programs and favorable currency movements.Underlying earnings from the Americas rose to EUR 339 million. The 8% increase compared to the second quarter of 2011 is due to underlying growth in the business and a strengthening of the US dollar against the euro partly offset by lower fixed annuity earnings, recurring charges for Corporate Center expenses and an increase in employee benefit expenses. In the Netherlands, underlying earnings decreased 4% to EUR 71 million. The decline was mainly the result of adverse claim experience on disability products in the non-life business, partly offset by higher contributions from pensions and distribution. In the United Kingdom, underlying earnings before tax increased to EUR 25 million. The strong improvement in earnings compared to the same period last year was driven by the non-recurrence of extraordinary charges and successful implementation of the cost reduction program in AEGON's businesses in the United Kingdom. Underlying earnings from New Markets decreased 9% to EUR 64 million. Improved results at AEGON Asset Management and in Asia were offset by lower underlying earnings from Central & Eastern Europe, Variable Annuities Europe and Spain. AEGON no longer includes results from its partnership with Caja Ahorros del Mediterráneo (CAM). The comparable quarter of 2011 included underlying earnings of EUR 9 million from CAM. Total holding costs decreased 16% to EUR 56 million as part of AEGON's Corporate Center expenses are now charged to operating units. This change reflects the various services and support provided by the Corporate Center to operating units. The second quarter 2012 charge to operating units amounted to EUR 16 million. Net income
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