AMSTERDAM - Dutch ING, which is splitting up its bank and insurance arms, will sell its stake in Chinese insurer Antai to China Construction Bank (CCB) as part of its ongoing restructuring programme.
ING said on Tuesday it had agreed to sell its 50 percent stake to CCB as part of a restructuring announced in April. It aims to sell up to 8 billion euros ($11.51 billion) in assets and cut risks after being hit by the credit crisis and receiving state aid last year.
The Dutch group, which in October announced it would split its insurance unit from the bank, will focus its Chinese insurance operations on ING Capital Life Insurance, its 50 percent joint venture with Beijing Capital Group, ING said.
ING wants to pay back 5 billion euros ($7.19 billion) in state aid by selling its insurance arm and other assets, after it paid back 5 billion euros in aid last week and completed a 7.5 billion euro rights issue.
The Dutch group, which ranks its insurance arm as the world's sixth largest in terms of revenue after France's AXA, Germany's Allianz and others, is selling assets as part of a deal with the European Commission after getting the state aid.
ING said last month it had already announced 3.8 billion euros worth of asset sales. It still also needs to sell some Dutch mortgage operations and U.S. online savings bank ING Direct USA in addition to the insurance arm.
The sale of the Antai stake fit ING's programme to sell joint venture holdings, such as ING's earlier sales of stakes in insurer ING Canada and an Australia wealth management firm, Theodoor Gilissen analyst Paul Beijsens said.
He could not name other assets which ING may sell but analysts have said ING could divest its stake in Brazilian insurance group Sul America.
The sale of Pacific Antai Life Insurance, whose other owner is China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd, is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be booked and closed in the second half of 2010.
Antai was founded in 1998 and sells individual and group life insurance and has about 300,000 customers, ING said. It had gross written premium income of 888 million yuan ($130 million) for the January-November period, comparing to 746 million yuan for ING Capital Life Insurance.
Shares in ING were down 0.1 percent at 7.03 euros by 1021 GMT, while the DJ Stoxx European banking sector .SX7P was down 0.3 percent. ($1=.6951 Euro) ($1=6.828 Yuan) (Editing by Hans Peters and Jon Loades-Carter)