Shares in ING, the Dutch lender which owns a number of insurers including Aetna, slumped after reports emerged that the company is to cut thousands of jobs.
The firm, which is headquartered in Amsterdam, fell the most in two months, according to a Bloomberg
report on Friday, which said that shares had declined by as much as 4.6% - the most since August 2.
Today, the company confirmed that it will cut 7,000 jobs over the next five years as part of a cost-saving plan that will also see it beef up its digital strategy.
The job losses, which account for up to 11% of its workforce, are the largest since the company’s “painful” restructuring at the height of the financial crisis in 2009, according to City A.M.
The company aims to save €900m by 2021, but will invest €800m in its technology platform to be rolled out over the next five years in Spain, Italy, France, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Matthias de Wit, an analyst at KBC Securities in Brussels, said in a note to clients that the lender is “active in too many markets where it lacks scale,” according to the Bloomberg
report on Friday.
“Especially in the challenger and growth segment, many operations are subscale, leading to subpar returns, diluting the group return on equity,” de Wit said.
However, speaking today to reporters, CEO Ralph Hamers said: “You have to announce these programs and these intentions at a time when you can afford them,” Reuters
“We’re strong right now, we have good results, we are growing and then you have to do the repairs, and not when you don’t have any choice any more.”
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