EUROPE - Dutch insurer Aegon, the second largest in the Netherlands, is looking to expand its private pensions operations to Romania, the Ukraine, Italy and Germany.

Company spokesman Gregory Tucker said Aegon has identified Romania and the Ukraine as a "natural" target.

He said: "It makes a lot of sense given our focus in central and Eastern Europe - we have invested quite a bit there in the last couple of years."

Also Italy and Germany are significant target markets that "bode well for the products and services that we provide".

"We don't have anything specific to announce but we are looking at our options all the time," Tucker commented in an interview with IPE.

The firm, which already controls 24% of the Dutch pensions insurance market, has also committed to further expansion in the Netherlands and the US.

Aegon has already established a pension fund in Slovakia, has moved into the Czech Republic. Last year Aegon acquired a leading life company in Poland and recently announced plans to acquire a pension fund management company there as well Tucker said.

In November, the insurer announced that it wants to double its pensions operations to €1.1bn by 2010.