ING Groep (ING) has moved a step closer to repaying the $14.3 billion loan it took out from the Dutch government in October 2008 during the height of the financial crisis.
The company has asked for final bids for its private banking business with the price believed to be around $1.8 billion.
ING is looking to raise as much as $11 billion to boost capital by selling assets. The goal, of course, is to get the money the company needs without mortgaging too much of the life insurance and banking giant’s future.
One of the assets on the block in the current round of bidding is ING’s private banking business in Asia. That’s a fast growing market—and therefore probably attractive to bidders–but ING’s Asian business is still relatively small.
Still the chance to tap China’s increasing number of high net worth individuals will be tough to pass up. In 2008 China had the fourth-highest number of individuals with at least $1 million in assets to invest in the world, according to Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini.
In February ING raised $almost $2 billion by selling its 70% stake in Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer. In July the company also agreed to sell its annuity and mortgage business in Chile to Corp Group Vida Chile for $350 million.
(Full disclosure: I own shares of ING in my personal portfolio.)