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ING appeal against European aid ruling could open floodgates

BANCASSURER ING and the Dutch state yesterday said they would appeal against elements of the European Commission’s decision on ING’s state aid restructuring, opening the door for other European state-aided banks to follow suit.

Analysts said if ING was successful, it could open the way to the renegotiation of the restructuring deals announced in the last three months. That could mean banks could keep assets they were told to sell.

Both SNS and Evolution Securities said that if ING won its appeal at the General Court of the European Union, it could potentially renegotiate the ordered sale of its US online bank, ING Direct USA. That asset in particular is one that ING wanted to keep because of its strong position.

ING received a €10bn (£8.6bn) bailout from the Dutch state in October 2008. It came with a 50 per cent repayment penalty if ING returned any of the money within the first three years.

But late last year, alongside its restructuring, ING and the state agreed on a reduction of the repayment premium for the first €5bn tranche of core tier 1 securities. It ended up paying €2bn less than it would have under the original terms.