Religare bids for ING's Asian assets

Indian financial services firm Religare Enterprises has submitted a non-indicative bid to buy the Asian private banking assets of Dutch insurance and banking firm ING, The Economic Times reported today, citing an unidentified person ''familiar with the development''.

The newspaper said Credit Suisse and two Singapore-based banks were also in the fray for the business that manages assets of 11 billion euros (Rs4,800 crore). ING, which has been hit by the global financial crisis, is looking to divest its private banking operations outside of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Reacting to the report, a Religare spokesperson said that the company does not comment on market rumours and speculations, but added, ''As a group we are constantly on the lookout for opportunities in line with our ambition of becoming a global leader in financial services sector.''

A spokesman for ING private banking too refused to comment on the matter on the same grounds. ''We are continuing and we are committed to managing the private bank through these turbulent times, first and foremost focussing on our service to our clients,'' he said.

Religare, owned by the family of industrialist Malvinder Singh which ran pharmaceutical firm Ranbaxy Laboratories till it was sold to Japan's Daiichi Sankyo for Rs10,000 crore last year, is the only Indian company to have put in a bid for ING's assets the ET report said.

ING, badly hit by the global financial crisis, is looking to sell its Asian and European private banking portfolio for over $1 billion. However, this portfolio does not include ING's Indian assets. The Dutch firm is looking to complete the sale by September.