ING to wrap restructuring early, posts profit plunge

6th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

Top Dutch bank ING said Wednesday it aimed to wrap up restructuring imposed on it after a 10-billion-euro ($13.5 bn) government bail-out by 2016, two years earlier than expected.

"Under a new agreement with the European Commission, the total restructuring of ING Group will now be completed two years earlier, in 2016," ING chief executive Ralph Hamers said in a statement.

ING said the sale of its Asian insurance businesses was "almost complete".

The Amsterdam-based bank on Wednesday posted an 84.7 percent plunge in net profit for the third quarter, blamed on the loss-making sale of its Korean insurance arm.

ING announced in August it was selling ING Life Korea at a 900 million-euro after-tax loss, sending the bank's third quarter profits plunging from 659 million euros in 2012 to 101 million euros.

Fellow Asian insurer ING Life Japan will now also be put up for sale.

ING said it planned to include ING Life Japan in part of a "base case" initial public offering in Europe.

The IPO will happen next year and will include ING's European insurance businesses, with all shares sold by 2016, ING said.

Under an agreement reached with the European Commission at the height of the banking crisis, the Netherlands' largest bank had to do extensive restructuring in order to pay back the loan.

So far, ING has sold its insurance and investment businesses in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America and a large part of its similar concerns in Asia under the restructuring.

It is also selling its shares in US-based daughter company ING US.

Under the initial agreement in 2009, ING was supposed to have finished restructuring by 2013, but in November last year the Commission extended the deadline until 2018.

Wednesday's agreement will now see this date pushed forward to 2016, ING said.

The Dutch bank has said before it would pay off a loan of 13.5 billion euros including interest received from the Dutch state by May 2015.

© 2013 AFP

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