Aegon, the insurance giant with $147 billion in assets which recently announced plans to acquire Transamerica, has just reported that its 1998 net profits rose 25 percent to $1.36 billion, from $1.1 billion a year earlier. Aegon forecasts further growth this year, although at a slower pace of 18 to 20 percent, the company said in a statement.

Aegon chairman Kees Storm said his company is "excited by the additional growth we anticipate in 1999 with the Transamerica acquisition later this year." That deal is expected to close sometime between June and August.

Aegon said its growth reflected improved profitability in the Americas, Netherlands and United Kingdom.

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