NU Online News Service, Aug. 23, 1:35 p.m. – ING Groep N.V., Amsterdam, is reporting the equivalent of $2.5 billion in net income for the first half on $646 billion in assets, compared with $4.3 billion in net income on $550 billion in assets for the first half of 2000.

Operating income, which excludes taxes and other charges that were not specified, increased 16%, to $1.9 billion, and world life insurance operating profits increased 26%, to $1.5 billion

Revenue figures were not immediately available.

ING reports its earnings in euros. The conversions here are based on an exchange rate of 1 euro=91.45 U.S. cents for Aug. 23, and an exchange rate of 1 euro=84.904 U.S. cents for June 30, 2000, as reported by OANDA Corp., New York.

ING is a large banking, insurance and asset management company with operations around the world. The latest results for the North American operations are not comparable with the results for the first half of 2000, because ING completed deals for ReliaStar Financial Corp., Minneapolis, and Aetna Financial Services, Hartford, at the end of 2000.

ING is giving few details about what it has done with Aetna Financial and ReliaStar, but it says integration is on track in spite of difficult market conditions and uncertainty about U.S. estate and tax laws.

The North American life insurance operations are reporting the equivalent of $369 million in operating profits for the first half on $13 billion in premium revenue.

Excluding Aetna and ReliaStar, U.S. operating income grew 35% for fixed annuities, fell 15% for variable annuities, and more than doubled for guaranteed investment contracts, ING says.