ING asset sales to fund Internet banking

ING asset sales to fund Internet banking

Dutch bank ING may use proceeds from $1.5 billion in asset sales to make further acquisitions in Internet banking, says chief executive Michel Tilmant.

Tilmant, 52, has announced the sale of seven units since his promotion in April. The company will "redeploy the capital in critical businesses," he told Bloomberg in an interview today.

"We clearly have the idea to devote part of the cash we free up from the divestments to ING Direct businesses and also to Asia," he continued.

ING's direct banking business, which curently operates in eight countries, accounted for about five per cent of total pre-tax earnings, or EUR320 million in the first nine months. Earnings at the unit surged 89% in the third quarter, easily outstripping other ING business lines.

Tilmant says negotiations to buy the French savings and online brokerage unit from UK Internet bank Egg will likely be completed "within weeks". Other acquisitions are likely to include mortgage portfolios, helping to add variety to the ING Direct savings line.

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