RRJ Capital raises stake in ING’s US insurance unit, says source-Reuters

(Reuters) – Asian private equity firm RRJ Capital, founded by ex-Goldman Sachs and Hopu Management dealmaker Richard Ong, has invested a further $248 million in ING Groep‘s U.S. insurance unit, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

RRJ acquired the stake from ING Groep, which sold a further 38 million shares in its U.S. insurance unit ING US Inc raising $1.12 billion on Thursday. RRJ now owns 4.4 percent of ING US, making it the second-biggest shareholder.

RRJ’s bet on the U.S. insurance market comes after several deals spanning China and Southeast Asia, which has seen the firm invest over $500 million in three weeks. RRJ is investing from its second fund, which raised $3.6 billion.

Among the firm’s recent deals are the $150 million worth of equity and bonds it bought of Hong Kong-listed China property developer CIFI Holdings Group Co Ltd, and the $33 million of shares it purchased in Singapore-listed China water treatment firm SIIC Environment Holdings Ltd.

Ong established RRJ in 2011 and was joined in the same year by his younger brother Charles, former senior managing director at Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd, now co-CEO and chairman of RRJ.

RRJ first invested $78 million in ING’s US insurance unit in May during its $1.3 billion IPO, which was at $19.50 a share, the source said. RRJ bought the latest shares at $29.50 each, as ING cut its stake to about 57 percent, ING said in a filing.

ING has been selling assets globally to repay a 10 billion euros ($13.80 billion) state bailout received in a 2008 rescue. Since then, ING has dismantled its once-fashionable banking and insurance model and announced thousands of job cuts and other cost savings, raising about 23 billion euros.

RRJ and ING declined to comment.