EU clears revamp plans for Lloyds, ING, KBC

November 18, 2009

LLOYDS/   BRUSSELS, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Plans by three major European banks to sell chunks of their operations in return for state aid were approved by EU authorities on Wednesday, marking the latest regulatory-enforced financial break-ups.
   In reviewing a raft of bank bailouts across the 27 European Union member states, the European Commission has forced lenders to divest assets, close branches, reduce market share and temporarily stop paying dividends.
   The EU executive on Wednesday approved restructuring plans for British lender Lloyds Banking Group Plc <LLOY.L>, Dutch bancassurer ING <ING.AS> and Belgian banking and insurance group KBC <KBC.BR>.
   Both Lloyds and ING had weeks earlier announced their split-ups to appease EU competition concerns. [ID:nLG218152] 
   “This plan effectively addresses the Commission’s competition concerns and at the same time ensures the return of Lloyds Banking Group to long term viability,” European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.
   She said the restructuring of the three banks would return them to long-term viability and secure a level playing field.
   The Commission said there was a sufficient degree of market interest in the assets to be sold by the banks.
   EU governments injected hundreds of billions of euros into their financial institutions in the wake of the financial crisis.
 (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Bate Felix and Phil Blenkinsop; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
 ((foo.yunchee@thomsonreuters.com; tel +32 2 287 6844; Reuters Messaging: foo.yunchee.reuters.com@reuters.net))
 Keywords: LLOYDS ING/KBC 
  
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 Wednesday, 18 November 2009 11:41:08RTRS [nLI597781] {EN}ENDS

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