ING to sell Thai fund unit to Singapore's UOB For $15.7m

PHOTO: ING to sell Thai fund unit to Singapore's UOB For $15.7m

HONG KONG - ING Groep NV agreed to sell its Thailand asset management unit to Singapore's United Overseas Bank Ltd for 10 million euros (S$15.7 million) in cash, as the Dutch financial group pushed ahead with its Asian divestments.

After failing to find a single buyer for its entire Asia business, ING is breaking up the sale along different geographies. The disposal of the Thai unit leaves ING with asset management operations in South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan.

The sale is part of ING's wider asset disposal programme aimed at repaying the 10-billion-euro ($12.7 billion) state bailout received during the 2008 financial crisis. Last month, ING agreed to sell part of its Asia insurance operations for $3.8 billion.

UOB, the smallest of Singapore's three banks, said in a statement on Tuesday that ING's Thai unit held about 113.8 billion baht ($3.70 billion) of assets as of the end of September. The purchase is not expected to have a material impact on UOB's earnings, the bank said.

The Thai unit is the third-biggest of ING's Asian fund management unit. South Korea is the largest and Taiwan the second-biggest.

ING's Asia investment management business has a book value of 200 million euros and manages about 43.3 billion euros of assets in the Asia-Pacific region, according to company filings.

ING was advised by Credit Suisse, while Nomura Holdings advised UOB, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The Dutch group launched the sale of its Asian insurance and asset management operations in March.

The sale of its entire Asia asset management operations ran into a snag after front runner Ameriprise Financial Inc bowed out of the race, forcing ING to rework its strategy to exit the business, according to the sources.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak about deal publicly.