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ING reduces debt exposure in Southern Europe

Dutch financial services group ING Groep NV said on Wednesday it had reduced its southern European sovereign debt exposure in the second quarter, as the euro zone debt crisis took hold.

“In the current environment with volatile markets and a fragile economic recovery, managing risk and leverage remains an important priority,” ING said in a statement ahead of a Goldman Sachs European Financials Conference in Madrid.

ING also said Chief Executive Jan Hommen will review progress made in “the orderly separation” of Banking and Insurance.

The company received a 10 billion euro capital injection from the Dutch state in Oct. 2008. It announced a "Back to Basics" program in April 2009, including a planned 8 billion euros in asset sales.

ING also said it continued to steadily reduce its exposure to real estate.

Sources told Reuters on Tuesday that ING, one of the top five insurers in Europe, has hired Morgan Stanley to oversee a possible sales of its real estate management arm. (Reuters)