ING Groep NV, the biggest Dutch bank, said it will end an investment in its former U.S. insurance unit, Voya Financial Inc., by selling 45.6 million shares.
Voya will repurchase $600 million of its shares in connection with the offering, according to a press release Tuesday from the New York-based insurer. The Dutch lender has received more than $6 billion for the 81% of Voya that it sold in five transactions starting with the initial public offering in 2013. The final sale is valued at about $2 billion based on Voya's closing price of $44.08 in New York trading Tuesday.
ING is disposing of certain international assets after taking a bailout during the financial crisis. After the final divestiture, Voya may increase its quarterly payment of 1 cent a share to investors, Yaron Kinar, an analyst with Deutsche Bank AG, said in a Jan. 6 note to investors.
"With the exit by the former parent, the large-seller overhang is completely removed," Kinar wrote. "We'd also expect the company to shift its capital deployment, distributing it between buybacks and dividends, thereby beginning to attract yield-oriented investors."
Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. are leading the offering, Voya said in a regulatory filing.
Voya Chief Executive Officer Rod Martin, 62, has used the ING sales to repurchase his company's stock. Voya bought shares valued at more than $700 million in three transactions last year.
Martin has also sought to free up capital by exiting some policies that were issued in prior years. Moody's Investors Service said Tuesday before the share-sale announcement that it lifted the insurer's credit rating.
"Voya's continuing improvement in its financial profile, particularly profitability and financial flexibility," led to the upgrade, the ratings firm said in a statement.
ING raised more than $1.4 billion through Voya's IPO in May 2013, selling shares at $19.50. With four subsequent sales of stock, Amsterdam-based ING had reduced its holding to 19% by last November.
ING, which once had insurance operations from Brazil to Malaysia, has said it plans to resume dividend payments for the first time since 2008 after repaying the 10 billion-euro government rescue last year.