Up Front: THE DEAL MILL
ING HAS TROUBLES OF ITS OWN
ING, THE DUTCH BANK IN LINE to take over woebegone Barings, may be a growing financial powerhouse, but it has had its own share of financial pratfalls. While Internationale Nederlanden Groep is profitable overall, it says its trading arm ran red ink in 1994's first half--$5 million, say analysts. Blame Latin American debt problems. The bank expects to show a trading profit for the full year when results are unveiled on Mar. 30.
Closer to home, ING has run into trouble with its Orion Insurance subsidiary. The insurer went into liquidation in Britain after running up $1.5 billion in liabilities from asbestos and other environmental claims.
Another ING acquisition also proved a bust. In 1990, the company bought Britain's Victory Reinsurance at what it thought was a bargain-basement price of $200 million. Then it had to put in an additional $320 million after learning of Victory's liability exposure to a string of disasters, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. ING says it relied on faulty advice from Ernst & Young and Swiss Bank, and is suing both in Britain's High Court for $600 million in damages. Both deny that their advice was deficient.Paula Dwyer