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ING Groep

(ING) - Get ING Groep NV Report

, the Dutch financial services firm, reported a fourth-quarter loss of 712 million euros ($978.8 million) after recording a charge to pay back state aid.

The loss, however, was narrower than the year-earlier loss of 3.71 billion euros.

ING said underlying net profit in the quarter was 74 million euros, a reversal from a loss a year earlier of 3.09 billion euros.

ING recorded a charge of 930 million euros to repay the Dutch government for receiving state aid.

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The company received 10 billion euros from the Dutch government last year to help it weather the financial crisis.

ING said its banking operations posted fourth-quarter pretax underlying profit of 132 million euros vs. a year-earlier loss of 1.84 billion euros. Its insurance operations had a pretax underlying loss of 47 million euros, narrower than a loss of 2.5 billion euros in the same period a year ago.

The company plans to split its banking and insurance operations by 2012.

"2010 will be a year of transition, and it will not be without challenges, as we work towards the operational separation of the banking and insurance businesses," said CEO Jan Hommen, in a statement.

ING won't pay a 2009 dividend.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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