ING cuts stake in Brazil's SulAmérica in effort to shed assets

Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:34am EST

* ING to reduce stake in insurer by 7.2 pct

* Controlling shareholder to buy stake from ING

SAO PAULO Feb 28 (Reuters) - ING Groep NV, the biggest Dutch financial services company, agreed on Thursday to reduce its stake in Brazilian insurer SulAmérica Seguros e Previdencia SA, raising funds to repay a state bailout received after the global financial crisis.

Under terms of the deal, ING will sell a 7.2 percent stake in SulAmérica to Brazil's Larragoiti family, the Brazilian company's controlling shareholder, according to a securities filing. The transaction leaves ING with a 28.8 percent stake in SulAmérica, Brazil's third-largest insurer.

Neither SulAmérica nor ING gave details on the value of the transaction. Management at SulAmérica will discuss the deal with investors in a conference call later in the day.

Based on SulAmérica's closing price on Wednesday, ING might have raised 346 million reais ($176 million) from the sale. The value of ING's remaining stake in SulAmérica is worth about 1.4 billion reais, according to Thomson Reuters calculations.

Shares of SulAmérica fell 2.5 percent to 18.99 reais, after hitting a record-high 19.58 reais earlier on Thursday. The stock is up 7.5 percent this year.

The Amsterdam-based insurance giant is facing regulatory pressure to shed industry assets in Asia and other regions by the end of 2016 as part of a 10 billion euros ($13.1 billion) bailout package it received in 2008. Late in 2011, ING exited most of its Latin American pension business, raising about $3.5 billion from the sale.

On Wednesday, the Brazilian insurer posted a 19 percent jump in fourth-quarter net income, as revenue was propped up by gradual increases in the value of premiums throughout the year and efforts by Chief Executive Officer Thomaz de Menezes to streamline operating costs.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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