ING has geared up to move ahead with its plans to sell its Asian life-insurance business in a deal worth over $6.5bn and has issued information memorandums for the same to potential suitors.

Sources close to the matter have told Reuters that the Dutch bank and insurer has asked suitors to submit first-round bids by the third week of next month.

The proposed sale is in line with a restructuring requirements agreement with the European Commission, which was inked prior to receiving approval for a government aid during the financial crisis in November 2008.

The proceeds from the sale will be used by ING to repay the Dutch state aid.

Potential bidders for the acquisition include Metlife, Prudential Financial, Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial while, Korea’s KB Financial, Samsung Life Insurance and Hong Kong-listed AIA have expressed interest only in ING’s South Korean life-insurance operations.

ING’s Asian business is mostly concentrated in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand with South Korea and Japan account for about two thirds of the business.

The Japan operation has EUR18bn worth of high guarantee variable-annuity policies on the books, as reported by Reuters.