A spokeswoman for ING Group has said “it is
only natural” that parties are expressing an interest in its Asian
insurance business.

A sale of ING’s Asian life insurance business
would help the financial institution repay the remaining €3bn
($3.8bn) of state aid it received as part of the capital support
facilities it received by the Dutch government during the financial

ING spokeswoman Carolien van der Giessen said:
“We are exploring options for our Asian Insurance and IM activities
and while all options are open, we are currently exploring options
for a sale.”

Her remarks come amid news reports that
Manulife Financial was among the suitors that submitted first-round
bids for ING Group’s Asia life insurance unit.

Reuters has reported that the bids were
submitted late on 18 May and the indicative offers ranged from

A spokesman for Manulife Financial said the provider has a
longstanding policy of not commenting on market speculation.