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Singapore bank in talks with ING

SINGAPORE, Oct 13 – Singapore\’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) said on Tuesday it was in talks with Dutch lender ING for a possible acquisition.

OCBC gave no details, but Dow Jones Newswires quoted unnamed sources as saying ING hoped to raise 1.5 billion US dollars by selling its Asian private banking assets and that a deal should be finalised in the next few weeks.

"The bank wishes to inform shareholders that it is in discussions with ING in relation to a possible acquisition," OCBC said in a statement filed with the local stock exchange.

"The discussions are consistent with the bank’s strategy of looking for growth opportunities in the region."

But OCBC also cautioned investors there was no guarantee that a deal would be reached.

"Shareholders are advised that there is no certainty that any transaction or agreement will result from the discussions," the bank said.

ING had announced in April plans to sell assets worth up to eight billion euros (11.83 billion US dollars) to reduce its risk exposure and focus on core business.

It said the sales would affect 10 to 15 business areas in the course of the next few years, leaving the company focused on Europe, life insurance and pensions savings.

ING received a government capital injection of 10 billion euros to help it through the global financial crisis.

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