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Dutch financial services firm ING divests Asian insurance operations

Dutch financial group ING Groep NV (AMS:INGA) said today it had agreed to sell its life insurance, general insurance, pension and financial planning units in Hong Kong and Macau and its life insurance business in Thailand for a combined price of USD2.14bn (EUR1.6bn) in cash.

The buyer is Hong Kong-based private equity firm Pacific Century Group Holdings Limited, which is controlled by Richard Li, the son of Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing. The deal does not include ING Investment Management’s funds management businesses in Hong Kong and Thailand, ING said.

The purchase price represents a multiple of 24.3 times estimated 2012 earnings, ING stated, adding that it expects to book a net gain of some EUR1bn (USD1.3bn) from the transaction.

The divestment is in line with the group’s strategy to dispose of its Asian insurance and investment management activities in order to fulfill some requirements under the state bailout it had received during the financial crisis. As part of the restructuring plan, last week the group signed a EUR1.3bn deal to sell its Malaysian insurance business to Hong Kong-based sector player AIA Group Ltd (HKG:1299).

The current transaction, which hinges upon regulatory approval, is seen to wrap up in the first quarter of 2013. The group is continuing its ef


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