ING triumphs as races past predictions

DUTCH bancassurer ING yesterday beat first-quarter profit forecasts, improving the prospects for listing its US and European-Asian insurance units and for other asset sales to repay state aid.

ING, which received €10bn (£8.9bn) state aid at the height of the 2008 credit crisis, is selling assets so it can repay the Dutch government and splitting its bank and insurance operations as part of European Commission-imposed conditions attached to its bailout.

The financial services group said profit was boosted by higher interest rates and investment margins.

ING reiterated it was preparing to list the two insurance businesses, most likely next year.

“I think markets have improved in the US. Whether they are at this moment ready for an initial public offering I cannot say yet. We are not ready yet,” ING chief executive Jan Hommen said.