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ING bank reports profit plunge amid deep restructuring/AFP

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ING bank reports profit plunge amid deep restructuring

ING bank reports profit plunge amid deep restructuring/AFP

ING bank reports profit plunge amid deep restructuring/AFP

THE HAGUE, February 12 – Leading Dutch bank ING reported on Wednesday a 22.3-percent slump in net profit for 2013, blamed special factors and said it would pursue its deep restructuring programme this year.

Amsterdam-based ING posted 3.2 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in net profit, down from 4.16 billion euros in 2012.

Net profit for the fourth quarter of 2013 plunged by 63 percent to 539 million euros.

However, this was much better than expected by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires, who had put forward 351 million euros.

Despite the drop, which ING said was due to one-off “special items” and divestments, the bank remained optimistic, saying it would continue restructuring as it sought to finish repaying 10 billion euros, plus interest, in state aid it received in 2008.

Underlying profit before these deductions rose by 22.2 percent from 2.6 billion euros to 3.2 billion euros.

ING has already paid back more than 13.5 billion euros of the state loan received in October 2008 during the height of the banking crisis and is expected to pay two more instalments each worth 1.1 billion euros by May 2015.

So far, ING has sold business in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America and Asia as part of its restructuring.

Chief executive Ralph Hamers said the group “kept up the momentum of our transformation programme” during the fourth quarter of 2013.

“We resolved the divestment of our Asian insurance and investment management businesses, reduced our stake in ING US to 57 percent and lowered our holding” in South America.

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“We are now within the final phase of our restructuring,” Hamers said.

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