South Korean firm KB Financial is the frontrunner to land ING Life Insurance Company Korea, its insurance business in the country, after its chairman Euh Yoon-dae yesterday revealed it was in the final stages of negotiations with ING about a sale and is set to ink a deal next week. The sale would be the first in a round of sell-offs by ING in Asia, as the firm seeks to raise funds to pay back a state bailout it received in 2008.
On Tuesday, AIA Group emerged as the front-runner to buy ING's Malaysia and Thailand insurance operations in a deal that could be worth around $2bn. ING had originally wanted to sell off its insurance operations in Asia, which is valued at €6.1bn, as one whole business, but has now settled on selling off the operations piece by piece. The firm’s Asian insurance businesses posted a €160m pre-tax profit last quarter, up from €135m in the previous year.