Insurance news shows ING expects its Asian business to sell quickly

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The Dutch banker and insurer is selling parts of itself to repay state assistance.

The latest insurance news about ING includes its announcement from its chief executive, that it believes that its sale of elements of its $7 billion in business in Asia will be quite fast and easy.

It will use the funds it obtains to repay the state and meet its 2008 E.U. bailout requirements.

It has also released additional insurance news, which says that it is getting ready for the sale of its American and European units in this industry, on the stock markets, as a part of its intention to undergo a massive restructuring. It will be moving away from the business model of bank-assurance which had been trendy at one time.

The company’s chief exec, Jan Hommen, said in a conference call that “The sales process for our insurance and investment management businesses in Asia is on track.” He added that “You will see some units go quicker than others, joint ventures take more time (to sell) … Certain things will go relatively quickly.”

ING made insurance news four years ago when it received state aid at the time of the banking crisis.

It received €10 billion (approximately $12.4 billion) from the state at that time. Now, in order to meet the European Commission’s bailout conditions and to make its repayments to the Dutch government, ING is selling its assets.

Experts in the industry have said that this announcement may not be quite as positive as Hommen hopes. The only bidders who are left that may be able to take on the Asian unit of ING (excluding the Japanese business) are Manulife, out of Canada, and the third largest insurer in Asia, AIA. So far, the bids that have been put forward can be considered relatively unappealing.

Therefore, the assets are also being broken up in order to sell them in a split that goes three ways. This is made up of the South Korea business, that out of Southeast Asia, and the more attractive elements of the business in Japan. ING hopes that this division of the overall Asian business will make for more positive insurance news and boost the final total price, as well as make for faster sales.

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