The European Commission has agreed to make the separation of ING’s banking and insurance activities a little easier.
The Dutch group has been given more time. It was initially to sell its insurance subsidiaries by the end of 2013. It is a major part of its business with 69.7% of turnover.
Now it has until the end of 2015 to sell more than half of its insurance interests in Europe. The remaining business will have to be sold by 2018.
ING has been hit hard by the economic stagnation in Europe, where it generates more than half of its revenues. At the beginning of November it announced more than 2,000 layoffs, 2.5% of its workforce.
At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, ING received €10 billion from the Dutch government. The banking and insurance group has already repaid €7 billion. The remaining three billion euros is to be repaid in four instalments along with a 50% premium. The first payment of just over a billion euros falls due in a week.
It was a breath of fresh air welcomed by many investors. ING shares recorded
one of the biggest rises on the Amsterdam stock exchange, up 3.7% at the close. In 2013, ING should also go ahead with the sale of its insurance subsidiary in the United States.