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ING Net Profit Rises 27% on ABN Amro Stake Sale

ING Groep, the Dutch banking and insurance group, reported a 27% percent rise in net profit for the second quarter on Tuesday, boosted by the sale of part of its stake in ABN Amro.

Net profit was 2.56 billion euros ($3.54 billion), up from 2.01 billion euros, the company said in a statement.

ING said it booked 573 million euros in gains from selling ABN Amro shares. The company didn't specify how many shares it sold or how many it has remaining, but did say it expected to book further gains from the sale of its stake in its Dutch rival in the second half of the year: Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays are leading rival bids for ABN in the largest takeover fight in banking industry history. According to data published by NYSE Euronext, ING had a 6.5% stake in ABN as of September 2006.

Operationally, ING's second-quarter earnings presented a mixed picture: total income rose 1.7% to 19.2 billion euros, reflecting gains from investments -- such as the ABN Amro stake sale -- and a 4 percent fall in income from insurance premiums.

Pretax profits from insurance rose 50% to 1.97 billion euros, reflecting the ABN gain, while pretax banking profits fell 0.5% to 1.33 billion euros.

ING's taxes fell by 15%, or 81 million eurls, to 476 million euros, due mostly to a reduction in the Dutch corporate tax rate to 25.5% from 29%.