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ING To Sell Asia Insurance JVs Separately

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ING Groep NV is planning to sell its three Asian insurance joint ventures separately from its other Asia assets so that the overall sale is not held up by negotiations with partners, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation said.

ING has insurance joint ventures in China, India and Korea. In China, it is partnered with Bank of Beijing Life Insurance ; in India, its partner is Vysya Life Insurance, while in Korea it has a tie-up with KB Life Insurance.

ING's investment banking division would advise on the joint venture sales, one of the sources said.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media. ING declined to comment on the process.

The Dutch financial group said last month that it would consider ways to dispose of its Asia insurance and investment management businesses separately from its European businesses, a move that would help it pay back the 2008 bailout it received from the Dutch government.

Earlier this month, sources said ING could sell its insurance and investment management businesses separately, a move later confirmed by ING Chief Executive Jan Hommen.

Those involved with the sale process expect the assets to be further broken up by geography.

ING has operations in seven Asian markets - China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand. Japan and South Korea are more mature, slower-growth markets.

At the end of last year, ING valued its Asia-Pacific insurance operations at 5.8 billion euros, with an additional 0.3 billion euros from the investment management business being attributed to Asia, according to an analyst presentation on ING's website.

The prospective sale of ING's Asian insurance and investment management businesses is potentially the region's second-biggest insurance sale ever.


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