ING to sell car leasing unit
Dutch financial services group ING confirmed on Monday reports that is looking to sell its European car-leasing unit, according to online.wsj.com. The Netherlands’ largest financial company by assets said in a statement that it is “reviewing strategic alternatives” for the business, “including discussions with third parties interested in a potential acquisition.” It will give more details in due course, it said. Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported Monday that a transaction could total EUR 4 bln, as a buyer would have to take over EUR 3 bln in debt and bolster the unit’s capital buffer by around EUR 750 M. ING wasn’t immediately available to comment on these figures. ING Car Lease isn’t on the list of assets that the European Commission ordered ING to sell as a condition of receiving EUR 10 bln in state aid during the financial crisis. However, the unit can be added to over EUR 5.5 bln in assets ING has sold off under a restructuring program that aims to make the company less complex. Meanwhile, the Amsterdam-based group is also in the midst of a restructuring ordered by the European Commission, in which it will divest its insurance business and some bank assets. The divestments will nearly halve ING’s EUR 1.3 trillion balance sheet and will transform the global financial giant into a European-focused bank that generates the bulk of its profit in Benelux countries. Potential bidders could be the car-leasing units of BMW AG, Volkswagen AG and General Electric Co., Het Financieele Dagblad wrote. Other bidders may include Arval, a unit of BNP Paribas SA, and Athlon Car Lease, which is owned by Rabobank.