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AIA eyes ING asian operations

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AIA Group Ltd is exploring the possibility of an acquisition of Dutch ING’s Asian operations, valued at around £3 billion pounds.

AIA, which is about one third owned by American International Group Inc, has invited four banks to pitch for advisory roles for a potential offer, Reuters reported today.

Last week, ING decided against listing its combined Asian and European insurance business, saying it would instead be looking at other options after strong interest was shown in its Asian operations.

According to Reuters, ING hired Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan to advise on the deal.

The potential sale comes as European banks are rallying to sell assets in order to brace the debt crisis.

AIA is a surprise player in the bid for ING, as the company will be branching out slightly from it’s current market. More than three quarters of ING’s new sales are in the established South Korean and Japanese markets while AIA generally operates with fast growing Asian markets.

According to Reuters’ sources, AIA has around £1.95 billion in excess capital over regulatory requirements and would have no trouble raising the funds to make an aggressive bid for ING.