Crisis leads Brussels to give ING more time to break itself up

The European Commission has given ING more time to divest its insurance and other activities and pay back state support, the Dutch financial services group said on Monday.


ING now has until December 2018 to split off its insurance arm, while the forced sale of mortgage bank WestlandUtrecht will be replaced by a merger with the banking operations of Nationale Nederlanden. WestlandUtrecht has proved impossible to sell as a stand-alone entity.
The remaining state support of €3bn plus a €1.5bn fine will be spread over the next three years as four payments.
Flexibility
ING has been in talks with the commission on amending Brussels’ demands for several months. News of the deal drove up ING shares in Amsterdam 1.7% in early trading.
‘We are pleased the agreement announced today gives us more time and flexibility to complete the required restructuring while leaving our strategic objectives unchanged,’ chief executive Jan Hommen said in a statement.
Other restrictions on ING’s activities which were put in place by the restructuring agreement will remain until 2015. These include restrictions on acquisitions and pricing in southern European markets.

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