Insurer ING US Files For IPO

The Hartford Courant

ING U.S. Inc., a unit of Dutch financial services group ING Groep NV, filed to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering as its parent complies with a European Union mandate to split its businesses.

ING Groep is splitting its banking and insurance operations as part of a restructuring deal with the European Commission, turning into a smaller Europe-focused bank.

The separation of U.S. operations is a "major milestone" for the company, said Dana E. Ripley, an ING U.S. company spokesman. It is not expected to change ING U.S. operations in Windsor, where more than 2,000 people work at the company's largest U.S. office.

"Our Windsor operations remain a central part of our overall operations," Ripley said.

ING U.S. has its executive headquarters in New York City, and the company employs about 7,200 across the nation.

The group received a 10 billion euro ($12.71 billion) capital infusion from the Dutch Government in 2008 and has been selling assets to repay the bailout. It sold its U.S. online banking business ING Direct for nearly $9 billion to Capital One Financial Corp. last year.

ING U.S., which provides insurance, retirement and investment services, named Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs lead underwriters to the offering.

In July 2000, Aetna sold its financial services and international units to ING Group Inc. for $7.7 billion as part of Aetna's strategy to break apart its multi-line model and focus on health care.

ING's U.S. unit had $445.3 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30. For the six months ended June, it reported a profit of $129.2 million.

In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, ING U.S. said it had about 13 million individual and institutional customers.

While the company will go public under the ING brand, it intends to rebrand itself after listing. It expects substantial costs in connection with the rebranding.

The filing did not reveal how many shares the company planned to sell, their expected price and the exchange it would list the shares on.

Jay Ritter, a University of Florida IPO expert, expects the offering to be priced to attract institutional investors.

"Empirically, the pattern has been that big company IPOs, on average, have done at least as well as the market in the long run, for investors."

Ritter said financial markets in the United States have recovered from their early summer lows and valuations are defensible.

"Given the track record of similar large company IPOs, this should not be a highly speculative deal."

Courant staff writer Matthew Sturdevant contributed to this report.

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