ING and Greece's Piraeus Bank have started to unwind their respective cross-shareholdings. ING Group and Piraeus Bank will however continue their bancassurance alliance and product joint ventures, the Dutch bank said in a statement.

ING has had a strategic alliance in the form of an insurance and asset management joint venture with Piraeus Bank since 2002. As part of the partnership the two companies decided to take mutual cross-shareholdings, with ING taking a 5% stake in Piraeus Bank and Piraeus bank taking a 20% stake in ING Greece.

In 2004 Piraeus Bank’s 20% stake was converted into ING Group shares, representing a stake of 0.15% in ING Group.

In line with the alliance agreement between the parties, the net proceeds of the sale of ING shares will be transferred to the Dutch group, with Piraeus gaining the net proceeds of the sale of the its shares.

The unwinding of the cross-shareholding is expected to be completed by March 10, 2006.