ING to book up to €1.1bn US insurance cost

DUTCH insurer and banking group ING said it would take a charge of up to €1.1bn (£942m) on a US insurance portfolio yesterday and may exclude the business from its planned insurance listings.

ING plans to list its insurance and investment management operations in two IPOs as part of European Commission approval for state aid received in 2008 but chief executive Jan Hommen said he did not rule out excluding its US closed book of variable annuities, which caused the charge, from the listing.

ING shares closed 4.7 per cent lower at €6.01 after analysts said they were surprised by the charge and its size.

ING will take a fourth-quarter charge of between €0.9bn and €1.1bn on its closed book of US variable annuities because investments linked to the products had fallen in value, Mike Smith, head of ING’s US annuity business, said.

It is the third charge ING has taken on the insurance products.