NETHERLANDS -  Dutch insurance giant Eureko, whose chief executive stepped down earlier this month, has asked shareholders for capital to bolster solvency levels.

Eureko has stakes and partnerships with companies such as F&C, Friends Provident and Polish insurer PZU.

A spokesman confirmed today the company had been in talks with major shareholders Vereniging Achmea, which holds 54% of Eureko, and Rabobank (39%) since September. He stressed it was not in a hurry and no deal had been made yet.

Eureko branded newspaper reports about a  €1bn cash injections as premature: "Nothing has been decided about the possible amount of the capital injection."

The spokesman confirmed Eureko had suffered stock losses, though declined to comment on the size of these losses.

He added that the need for capital is dependent on the firm's solvency position, and though Eureko is largely above the requirements made by the Dutch central bank, it does not meet the stricter solvency requirements of ratings agencies.

Standard & Poor's (S&P) revised its outlook for Eurkeo to negative from stable last month following concerns about the operation performance in Eureko's Dutch business. S&P was not available for comment before deadline.

Eureko has not applied for state aid and is not planning to do so in the future. Late last year, the Dutch government injected capital in Dutch financial groups ING, Aegon and SNS Reaal.

Earlier this month, Eureko's Maarten Dijkshoorn stepped down as chairman and chief executive for "personal reasons". Vice presidents Willem van Duin and Gerard van Olphen will temporarily him.

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