* Shares priced at 20 euros a piece, in middle of range
* ING will earn gross proceeds of 1.5 billion euros
* NN Group set to be largest European IPO so far in 2014
* European IPO market booming in first half of 2014 (Adds details On IPO, background on NN Group)
By Anthony Deutsch
AMSTERDAM, July 1 (Reuters) - Shares of NN Group, the insurance arm of Dutch financial services company ING Group , will list for 20 euros per share, the company said late Tuesday, in what is set to be the largest stock floatation in Europe so far this year.
The price was in the middle of an initial range of 18.50-22.50 euros per share and will result in approximately 1.5 billion euros ($2.05 billion) in gross proceeds, ING said in a statement.
The offering values NN Group at 7 billion euros ($9.55 billion), it said. Shares in NN Group are set to start trading in Amsterdam on Wednesday.
Earlier Tuesday ING said it had increased by 10 percent to 77 million the number of ordinary shares being listed due to “significant” investor demand.
ING Group has been forced to spin off the insurance business as part of terms of a 10 billion euro bailout at the height of the financial crisis.
The insurance business was once ING’s mainstay, with highly profitable global operations, when it was a leading proponent of the then fashionable bancassurance business model.
But ING, then one of the world’s largest banks, has had to sell off tens of billions in foreign assets, radically reshaping itself to comply with the terms of the rescue, shedding investment banking operations and cutting thousands of jobs.
Its ownership of NN Group will be reduced to 71.4 percent at the flotation, excluding the exercise of a 15 percent over-allotment option.
ING said it intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to reduce its double leverage.
Of the shares being offered, approximately 94.8 percent were allocated to Dutch and international institutional investors, it said, while approximately 5.2 percent went to Dutch retail investors.
The listing comes a day after the Dow Jones and S & P closed at record highs and amid high global demand for IPOs. Companies around the world have raised $107.2 billion from stock flotations in the first half of 2014, a 60 percent jump from a year earlier.
The cash raised in European IPOs rose almost 250 percent to $41.2 billion through June 30. But there have been recent signs of cooling as, spoilt for choice, investors are getting more selective.
NN Group’s flotation comes after a difficult few weeks for listings, with some struggling to attract investor interest in the bookbuilding process and trading down after their floatation.
Last week, shares in Dutch specialty chemicals distributor IMCD rose nearly 5 percent on their first day of trading in a 462 million euro flotation in Amsterdam. The shares are up 11 percent in three trading days.
NN Group, which has a strong position in the Dutch domestic market, a substantial European presence, operations in Japan and a global investment management business, said it will pay a one-off dividend of 175 million euros next year on profits in the second half of 2014.
The bank is due to pay back its final tranche of state aid with a 1.025 billion euro payment in May 2015, a move that could allow the bank to resume paying dividends.
As part of the terms of its bail out, ING said it aims to have sold more than 50 percent of its shareholding in the insurer before the end of next year and the remaining shares before the end of 2016.
$1 = 0.7331 Euros Additional Reporting By Freya Berry and Thomas Escritt.; Editing by Diane Craft and Andrew Hay