ING Groep NV plans to reduce stake at U.S. insurance unit

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – ING Groep NV, the largest Dutch financial-services firm, is set for another sale of its stake in a U.S. insurance unit, as it winds down its ownership in that business as well as ending its majority control.

ING U.S. Inc. said its Amsterdam-based parent company plans to sell 26.5 million shares, a move that will further reduce its stake in the U.S. insurance, investment and retirement firm.

The Dutch financial-services company firm expects to sell an additional 7 million shares back to the U.S. unit, or around $250mn worth of shares, according to ING Groep. Total shares to be sold could reach around 33.5 million shares, or around $1.2bn worth of shares.

ING Groep is moving to exit from its U.S. life business, as part of a requirement to comply with terms of a 2008 bailout. With the sale, it would lower the company’s stake to 45 percent from 57 percent. The firm has previously divested shares through an initial public offering in May and had another sale in October.

The proceeds from the sale would be used to reduce debt, the Dutch firm said. In its first quarter, ING Groep recorded a loss of around 2bn euros ($2.8bn), which reflects the difference between the book value of ING U.S. shares and the sale price.

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