ING to sell KB Stake for app. $675 Million; Seeks Buyer for Korea Insurance Unit

February 14, 2013

Dutch financial services group ING plans to sell its remaining stake of around 5 percent in South Korea’s KB Financial Group Inc., a deal valued at up to $675 million, IFR reported on Thursday.

ING is looking to divest several businesses in Asia, including its South Korean insurance unit, to help repay a €10 billion [$13.34 billion] state bailout received during the global financial crisis.

The Dutch company is the second-biggest shareholder in KB Financial, the parent of South Korea’s top lender Kookmin Bank. South Korea’s National Pension Service is the top shareholder with 8.2 percent.

ING is offering 19.4 million shares between 37,480-37,750 won each, said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. That represents a discount of up to 1.4 percent to Thursday’s close of 38,000 won.

A KB Financial spokesman in Seoul did not have an immediate comment on the deal when contacted by Reuters.

KB Financial shares have gained 7.9 percent the past three months, outpacing a 3.2 percent rise in the benchmark KOSPI index.

ING on Wednesday reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and unveiled plans to cut 2,400 more jobs in its retail banking business in preparation to separate its banking and insurance operations to comply with terms of the bailout.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch was hired as sole bookrunner on the deal, IFR said.

($1 = 1086.9500 Korean won)

(Reporting by Daniel Stanton and Fiona Lau of IFR. Additional reporting by Joyce Lee in Seoul; Writing by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Edwina Gibbs)

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