ING to take 1.2 bln euro charge to ring-fence pension fund

Thu Jan 9, 2014 1:46am EST

AMSTERDAM Jan 9 (Reuters) - ING Groep NV said on Thursday it will make its defined benefits pension fund financially independent, resulting in an after-tax charge of about 1.2 billion euros ($1.63 billion) and paving the way for the IPO of its insurance business.

The charge will be booked as a special item in the first quarter of 2014, of which 800 million euros will be attributed to ING Bank and 400 million euros to ING Insurance.

ING said the agreement with various parties, including unions and the pension fund, would separate the obligations ahead of the planned initial public offering of its insurance business.

"This agreement represents a significant milestone in the separation of bank and insurance as we prepare for the base case IPO of ING Insurance planned for this year," said ING Chief Executive Ralph Hamers in a statement.

"The agreement will greatly reduce the current volatility in our equity and will further simplify the group."

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