ING Groep NV, the biggest Dutch financial-services company, reported a fourth-quarter profit that missed estimates on costs related to the separation of its bank and insurance units.
Net income of 433 million euros (US$587 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31 compared with a loss of 712 million euros in the year-earlier period, -Amsterdam-based ING said in a statement yesterday. That fell short of the 537 million euro average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
ING, created by the 1991 merger of insurer Nationale Nederlanden and NMB Postbank Group, is preparing to sell its insurance operations, a condition for the EU’s approval of government aid. The firm is considering two initial public offerings (IPOs), one for the European and Asian businesses and one for the US, and chief executive officer Jan Hommen has said the IPOs would will most likely take place next year, depending on market conditions.
“The focus for 2011 will be on preparing the insurance company for two IPOs and working toward the repurchase of the remaining outstanding core Tier 1 securities from the Dutch state,” Hommen said in yesterday’s statement.
ING is “exploring all options” for the insurance operations in Latin America, he told reporters on a conference call.
Divestments and special items, mainly related to restructuring programs and separation costs, totaled 211 million euros after tax in the fourth quarter, the company said.
“Restructuring costs and one-off expenses related to the separation process where higher than expected,” said Jan Willem Weidema, an Amsterdam-based analyst at ABN Amro.