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EU To Appeal Court Ruling On Dutch State Aid To ING

AMSTERDAM -(Dow Jones)- The European Commission will appeal a court ruling on state aid received by Dutch banking and insurance group ING Groep NV (INGA.AE) during the financial crisis, a spokesman for the commission said Tuesday. The European Union's highest court in March ruled that the commission, the European Union's executive arm, exaggerated the amount of aid ING received from the Dutch government in 2008. This was a setback for the commission, which has imposed tough restructuring strategies on many European banks that received government bailouts. The ruling forced it to go back to the drawing board and prepare a new restructuring plan for the Dutch group. "I confirm the commission will appeal the ruling," said Antoine Colombani, spokesman for Joaquin Almunia, the chief EU competition regulator. He added, the commission is reviewing its decision after the March ruling. ING has said previously that it hoped the commission would relax the restructuring requirements, either by giving it more time to execute the program or by keeping some assets that are earmarked for sale. The deadline for the completion of the program is the end of 2013. ING was ordered to cut its balance sheet by 45% in order to get approval for government support the company received during the financial crisis. The banking and insurance group, which received a EUR10 billion capital injection, appealed some elements of the restructuring because it believed the commission exaggerated the amount of support. The Dutch state required ING to pay a 50% premium on the funds, but later allowed it to pay a lower percentage if it would repay the first EUR5 billion at an early stage. The commission said the discount violated the original bailout terms and that it constituted EUR2 billion additional aid. ING will report first-quarter results Wednesday. -By Archie van Riemsdijk and Maarten van Tartwijk; Dow Jones Newswires; +31 20 571 5201; maarten.vantartwijk@dowjones.com

Stock News for Ing (ING)
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