ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

The acquisition of Turkish life insurance and pension company Ankara Emeklilik has been finalized, revealed an Aegon NV official at a press conference in Istanbul yesterday. The Hague-based Aegon NV, which is one of the world's leading insurance companies, aims to enhance its operations in eastern Europe through entering Turkey's life insurance and pension market.
Turkey should be included in the map of a multinational company, said Gabor Kepecs, board member of Aegon, responsible for Central and Eastern Europe.
�Turkey has a huge potential in the life insurance and pension sector with its population of nearly 74 million. Our investment in the country is a long-term commitment,� he said.
�Every year we enter a new market. This year we invested in Turkey. It took us two years to finally emerge in this market. Turkey will be the third-strongest arm of our business in Central and Eastern Europe, following Hungary and Poland,� Kepecs said.
Aiming to hold a 10 percent share of the mandatory pension market in the Central and Eastern European market by 2010, Aegon, which operates in more than 20 countries with 340 billion euros worth total assets size, is looking forward to growing in Turkey via further acquisitions.
�The acquisition of Ankara Emeklilik, which already has a well-established position in Turkey's market will give Aegon a strong platform for further growth in the country,� said Kepecs. �Ankara Emeklilik currently has over 58,000 pension fund members and approximately 35 million euros in assets under management,� he added.
The firm, which purchased Ankara Emeklilik in February, also launched a campaign to promote the name change to Aegon Hayat & Emeklilik yesterday.
While the price of the acquisition was undisclosed, Aegon is planning to set aside more than 1 billion euros to invest in the region, including Turkey, within the next five years.
�We are keen to make further acquisitions in Turkey. Now that we have entered the market, it is easier to eye larger acquisitions in the upcoming period. However, we cannot disclose the names of the companies we are interested in,� Kepecs said.
Responding to a question on the expansion expectations of Aegon in Turkey in terms of market share, �Actually it is dangerous to tell specific figures about the market share target. But reaching 10 or 15 percent of market share by 2010 in terms of the new sales, would be a realistic target. Our primary aim is to be included within the top five companies of the sector in every market we enter,� Kepecs said.