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ING bank launches IPO for Dutch insurance giant NN Group

Leading Dutch bank ING announced on Thursday it was offering a minority public stake in its NN Group insurance business, in the final stage of restructuring imposed after a government bail-out following the 2008 banking crisis.

THE HAGUE: Leading Dutch bank ING announced on Thursday it was offering a minority public stake in its NN Group insurance business, in the final stage of restructuring imposed after a government bail-out following the 2008 banking crisis.

"ING today confirms the intention to proceed with (an) initial public offering and listing on (the) Euronext Amsterdam of NN Group," ING said in a statement.

"The intended IPO will consist solely of a secondary offering of a minority holding of NN Group's ... shares held by ING," the Amsterdam-based bank said.

Although ING did not put a price on the offer, it announced in April it had secured 1.275 billion euros (US$1.7 billion) in investment in the NN Group ahead of the IPO.

Three Asian-based firms would act as "anchor investors", injecting 150 million euros (US$204 million) into the insurer.

In addition, ING has also issued mandatory exchangeable subordinated notes to the anchor investors to the value of of 1,125 billion euros.

ING itself valued the NN Group at 10.7 billion euros.

ING added it planned to sell more than half of its shares in NN Group by the end of next year and the rest by the end of 2016.

The sale of NN Group forms part of ING's restructuring imposed on it by the European Commission after a 10-billion-euro (US$13.7 billion) government bail-out during the height of the 2008 banking crisis.

ING has already paid back more than 13.5 billion euros of the state loan received in October 2008 and is expected to pay two more instalments each worth 1.1 billion euros by May 2015.

So far, ING has sold businesses in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America and Asia as part of its restructuring.

Chief executive Ralph Hamers said "today's announcement signals the launch of the final major transaction in ING's five-year restructuring."

"With the IPO of NN Group, we have substantially completed the repositioning of ING as a pure bank," he said.

NN Group is a leading Dutch insurer and investment management company that has branches in more than 18 countries, mainly in Europe and Japan.

It posted a before-tax turnover of 905 million euros last year.

NN Group said it aimed at paying 175 million euros in dividends to shareholders by 2015.

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