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ING to Repay $1.7 Billion as End of Restructuring Nears

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- ING Groep NV, the biggest Dutch financial-services company, is one step from fully repaying a 2008 bailout after saying it plans to return 1.23 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to the government on March 31.

ING is paying 817 million euros in aid and 408 million euros in interest and premiums, the Amsterdam-based company said in a statement today. It still owes the Netherlands 1.03 billion euros, to be returned no later than May 2015, according to an agreement with European Union regulators.

The Dutch firm has been selling assets, including its entire global insurance operations, since receiving a 10 billion-euro taxpayer rescue in 2008. It has paid more than 12.5 billion euros in aid and premiums to the Netherlands, it said, while shareholders haven’t received dividends since 2008. As its restructuring nears an end, ING plans to outline financial goals for its banking unit, including dividend policy, at a March 31 investor event, Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers said on Feb. 12.

After disposing of insurance assets in Asia and the U.S., ING is preparing the remaining European and Japanese business for an initial public offering in the second half of this year.

ING Bank’s core Tier 1 ratio, a measure of financial strength, will drop by about 40 basis points after the payment on March 31, according to today’s statement. Upon full repayment, the Netherlands will have made an annualized return of 12.5 percent on the bailout funds, ING said.

ING rose as much as 1.9 percent in Amsterdam trading today and was up 1.2 percent to 9.97 euros at 9:52 a.m.

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

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

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