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ING to Sell Eastern Europe Custody Services to Citigroup

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- ING Groep NV, the biggest Dutch financial-services company, agreed to sell custody services in seven countries in central and eastern Europe to Citigroup Inc. as it scales back commercial banking operations.

ING will transfer 130 jobs as part of the deal, in which Citigroup takes over custody services in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine, it said in a statement today. The Amsterdam-based company didn’t disclose financial details and said the sale won’t have a material impact on its results.

The Dutch company in November announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs in its commercial banking unit by 2015 to trim costs by about 260 million euros ($339 million) amid stricter regulatory requirements and “challenging operating conditions.” ING is unwinding its lease business in 11 countries and has cut back its equity capital markets operations.

ING announced last year it would eliminate about 130 jobs as it reduced central and eastern European equities operations to focus on Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland. The bank will also continue to offer custody services in Poland, it said today.

“With this acquisition, Citi has further strengthened its franchise in six important markets and has added Bulgaria to its proprietary network,” Sanjiv Sawhney, Citigroup’s head of Securities and Fund Services for Europe, Middle East and Africa said in a statement today.

Citigroup’s transaction services unit will add 110 billion euros in assets under custody, the New York-based lender said. At the end of the first quarter it held $13.5 trillion, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maud van Gaal in Amsterdam at mvangaal@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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