ING has reached an agreement to sell its life insurance and wealth management venture in Australia and New Zealand to ANZ, its joint venture partner. Under the terms of the agreement, ING will sell its 51% equity stakes in ING Australia and ING New Zealand to ANZ, who now will become the sole owner of these businesses. ING will receive EUR 1.1 billion in cash from ANZ.
Jan Hommen, CEO of ING Group said: “This transaction is another important step in executing our Back to Basics strategy. The sale of our insurance and wealth management operations in Australia and New Zealand is further proof of our determination to simplify the organisation by focusing on fewer, strong franchises that form a coherent group. This shows once more that our continued transformation is well on track.”
The transaction will generate an estimated net profit for ING of EUR 300 million. The cash proceeds and the estimated net profit will improve the debt/equity ratio of ING Insurance by 345 basis points. The transaction is expected to free up EUR 900 million of capital.
ING and ANZ merged their insurance and wealth management operations in Australia and New Zealand in 2002. The operations now employ 2,200 staff in Australia and 500 in New Zealand, offering a comprehensive range of wealth management and insurance products through ANZ bank branches, financial advisers and directly via the internet. ING Australia is the number two life insurer and has a top five position in wealth management, while ING New Zealand has market leading positions in retail fund management, life insurance and real estate.
Hans van der Noordaa, CEO Insurance Europe & Asia/Pacific, commented: “ING Insurance continues to have a strong footprint in Asia in life insurance and retirement services. One of the main objectives of the newly appointed regional CEO of ING Insurance Asia/Pacific, Frank Koster, will be to further develop and grow our Asian insurance businesses, which are active in some of the most attractive growth markets in the region."
ING remains active in Australia with ING Direct, ING Investment Management, ING Wholesale Banking and ING Real Estate, who are not impacted by this transaction. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be booked and closed in Q4 2009.
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