UPDATE 1-ING sells KB Financial stake for 500 mln euros

Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:51am EST

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AMSTERDAM Feb 14 (Reuters) - Dutch financial services group ING said it sold its 5 percent stake in South Korea's KB Financial Group to institutional investors for about 500 million euros ($672 million), confirming a report by IFR.

ING said the stake was sold in a block trade to institutional investors after the close of the Korea Exchange in Seoul on Thursday, and will result in an after-tax profit of about 100 million euros.

The banking and insurance group is in the process of divesting several businesses in Asia to help repay a 10 billion euro state bailout received during the 2008 global financial crisis.

"The transaction is in line with ING's strategic objectives to sharpen its focus and further strengthen its capital position," ING said in a statement.

ING said its previously announced plan to sell its insurance and investment management businesses in Asia, including ING Life Korea and a 49 percent stake in KB Life Insurance, which is a joint venture with KB Financial Group, was ongoing.

ING said it obtained its stake in KB Financial Group in 1999 through an investment in Korean bank H&CB, one of the companies which later formed KB Financial Group.

ING on Wednesday reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and unveiled plans to cut 2,400 more jobs in its retail banking business in preparation to separate its banking and insurance operations to comply with terms of the bailout. (Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Alison Birrane)

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