ING first quarter earnings rise on asset sales

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AMSTERDAM (AP) — Dutch financial company ING Groep NV reported higher first-quarter earnings due to asset sales and a slight improvement in margins at its banking arm. Its insurance operations lost money.

Net profit was 1.80 billion euros ($2.36 billion), compared with 728 million euros in the same period a year ago. This quarter's figure includes 940 million euros in net gains on divestments, mostly from the sale of its life insurance business in Asia.

The company said underlying bank profits in the quarter were 1.6 percent higher at 1.17 billion euros. The underlying loss at its U.S. insurance arm, which floated a 25 percent stake in an initial public offering last week, was 192 million euros, slightly better than its 199 million euros loss in the first quarter of 2012.

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