Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

ING to divide and repay state aid

ING bank
ING plans to make itself a much smaller firm

Dutch financial services group ING has announced that it will divide itself into separate companies, splitting its banking and insurance businesses.

Once it has been separated, ING plans to sell the insurance division.

It is also going to sell shares to existing investors so that it can repay half of its 10bn-euro ($15bn; £9bn) aid from the Dutch government early.

It received the cash in October 2008, shortly before it reported its first loss as a result of the credit crunch.

Back to basics

Chief executive Jan Hommen said the measures would "provide a clear plan for resolving the uncertainty created by the financial crisis".

In order to get European Commission approval for its restructuring programme, ING said it would need to sell its US internet banking arm ING Direct USA by 2013.

It is the latest step in ING's "Back to Basics" programme, which has resulted in 10,800 job cuts so far this year.

ING also said it expected to report third-quarter profits of about 750m euros, compared with a loss of 568m euros in the same period last year.

Additional premiums

In addition to the 10bn-euro direct investment, ING benefited from a deal in January under which the Dutch government took on 80% of its mortgage-backed securities portfolio.

The government paid 90% of face value for the assets, which was assumed at the time to be a great deal more than they were worth.

ING expects to raise 7.5bn euros from its share-sale, of which about 5.9bn euros will go to repay half of the direct investment made by the government plus interest and other premiums.

Under orders from the European Commission, another 1.3bn euros will go to the government as an additional premium for the deal made in January.

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