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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

ING's insurance arm begins trading as NN Group in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM - The insurance arm of Dutch financial firm ING has begun trading as the independent company NN Group, effectively completing ING's split into a bank and an insurance company, as required by EU authorities.

ING raised around 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) by selling a 28.6 per cent stake in NN Group, mostly in Wednesday's public offering. Shares were sold at 20 euros each and NN Group's stock traded 8.3 per cent higher at 21.66 by midday.

NN Group becomes a mid-sized European insurance company, with a market capitalization of around 7.5 billion euros.

The European Commission ordered ING to split in compensation for needing a 10 billion-euro bailout from the Dutch state in 2008. ING is using proceeds to cut debt and plans to sell off its NN Group stake by 2016.

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