In the second quarter, operating expenses decreased 4% to EUR 814 million as a result of cost savings and lower restructuring charges. Excluding restructuring charges and at constant currencies, operating expenses also decreased 4% compared with the second quarter of 2011.
Sales and deposits
AEGON's total sales increased 27% to EUR 1.6 billion. New life sales were stable as increased sales in the Americas were offset by lower sales in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Gross deposits in the pension business and AEGON Asset Management, however, were strong. New premium production for accident and health insurance also increased, mainly driven by strong travel insurance sales in the United States. At constant currencies, total sales increased 16%.Market consistent value of new business The market consistent value of new business amounted to EUR 117 million. The increase in the Netherlands resulting from a higher contribution from mortgage production was more than offset by the impact of lower interest rates on the value of new business in the Americas, Asia and Variable Annuities Europe. Revenue-generating investments Revenue-generating investments rose 3% compared to first quarter-end 2012 to EUR 452 billion at June 30, 2012, mainly the result of favorable currency movements in addition to net inflows. Capital management AEGON's core capital excluding revaluation reserves amounted to EUR 18.5 billion, equivalent to 74.6% [ 6 ] of the company's total capital base at June 30, 2012. AEGON is on track to reach a capital base ratio of at least 75% by the end of 2012. Shareholders' equity increased to EUR 23 billion. The increase was a result of second quarters' net income, an increase in the revaluation reserves and strengthening of the US dollar against the euro. The revaluation reserves increased to EUR 4.5 billion during the second quarter, mainly a reflection of lower interest rates. Shareholders' equity per common share, excluding preference capital, amounted to EUR 10.91 at June 30, 2012. During the second quarter, excess capital in the holding increased to EUR 1.6 billion, mainly the result of dividends received from operating units partly offset by operational expenses and dividends on preferred and common shares. Excess capital in the holding serves as a buffer. During 2012, AEGON aims to maintain a buffer at the holding of at least EUR 750 million. At June 30, 2012, AEGON's Insurance Group Directive (IGD) ratio amounted to 216%, a strong increase from the level of 201% at the end of the first quarter. Measured on a local solvency basis, the Risk Based Capital (RBC) ratio in the United States increased to ~460%, while the Pillar I ratio in the United Kingdom remained level at ~135% at the end of the second quarter 2012. The IGD ratio in the Netherlands increased substantially to ~265% partly as a result of a change in the yield curve to discount liabilities as prescribed by the Dutch Central Bank. This measure has added ~35 percentage points to the IGD ratio of the Dutch entity, equivalent to ~8 percentage points to the group IGD ratio. Cash flows