ING Groep Selling Majority of Korean Life Insurance Unit for $1.66 Billion

In an effort to continue an exit from its Asian insurance businesses, Netherlands-based ING Groep (NYSE: ING  ) has reached an agreement to sell ING Life Korea to MBK Partners for $1.66 billion, ING announced today.

In a statement, Jan Hommen, CEO of ING, called the deal "a major step in the divestment of our Asian insurance and investment management activities." Hommen added that "together with the scheduled payment of the next tranche of the core Tier 1 securities to the Dutch State in November 2013, this will bring us further into the end phase of the restructuring of our company."

ING will pay approximately $107 million to retain an indirect stake of 10% in ING Life Korea. ING Life Korea currently serves approximately 1.3 million customers, and has an estimated 6,800 "tied agents" along with 1,000 employees.

ING said it expects to realize an after-tax loss from the sale of an estimated $1.27 billion, which it will book in Q3 of this year. Proceeds from the transaction will be used to pay down debt, according to ING.

The deal is expected to close in Q4 of 2013, and is subject to regulatory and closing conditions.

ING Groep is still struggling to pay back bailout money it received from the Dutch state in 2008. Under direction of the European Union's competition authority, ING must separate its insurance and banking activities. After listing its U.S. insurance arm this year, it plans to spin off its European insurance arm in 2014.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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