During the quarter, we expanded further our distribution network in the United States and have secured an important new bank partnership in Spain. In addition, we have reinforced our position in Central & Eastern Europe by increasing our scale in Romania and entering Ukraine.
We are also pleased with the balanced agreement we have reached with our largest shareholder, Vereniging Aegon, to cancel all preferred shares. Following shareholder approval, this transaction will simplify Aegon's capital structure and enable us to maintain a high quality capital base under new European solvency requirements, and in a way that minimizes the impact on common shareholders.
We have made clear progress in positioning our businesses to compete successfully in the new environment. Moreover, our continued strong capital position and cash flows support our proposal to increase our final dividend to EUR 0.11 per share.
Key performance indicators
amounts in EUR millions b) Notes Q4 2012 Q3 2012 % Q4 2011 % FY 2012 FY 2011 % Underlying earnings before tax 1 447 472 (5) 346 29 1,787 1,522 17 Net income 2 422 374 13 81 - 1,571 872 80 Sales 3 1,813 1,550 17 1,409 29 6,725 5,701 18 Market consistent value of new business 4 204 173 18 71 187 619 422 47 Return on equity 5 7.2% 7.7% (6) 5.2% 38 7.1% 6.7% 6STRATEGIC HIGHLIGHTS
- Aegon forms strategic partnership with Banco Santander in Spain; ends JV with Unnim
- Position in Central & Eastern Europe strengthened with acquisitions in Romania and Ukraine