ING says has $1.1 billion of Cyprus exposure; shares fall

Dutch insurance and banking group ING said on Friday it had about 900 million euros ($1.16 billion) of exposure at year-end to companies registered in Cyprus, but that its credit risk linked to the island was negligible.

Its exposure to Cyprus was similar to that at the end of 2011, according to the data from the annual report.

ING's shares fell as much as 2.7 percent on Friday to their lowest level since March 4, in a market worried about the risks and the consequences of a financial meltdown on the Mediterranean island.

Traders were split over whether the Cyprus disclosures had driven ING's share price down.

"ING shares doing badly this morning - the market worried about the large exposure to Cyprus that they have owned up to," Steve Collins, global head of dealing at London & Capital Asset Management, said on Twitter.

Equity analyst Christopher Ho of Dutch-based AFS Brokers said the drop was due to general market sentiment due to the island's financial troubles. "All financials are down," he said.

At 6:38 a.m. EDT, ING shares lagged the broader market, falling 1.39 percent compared with declines of 1.1 percent on the STOXX Europe 600 Bank Index <.SX7P> and 0.16 percent among insurers .

ING also said in its annual report it owned 13 million euros worth of Cyprus government bonds at the end of December.

The majority of the corporate lending risk exposure was either deals where the country of risk was outside Cyprus, letters of credit, or trade commodity finance with maturities of less than 3 months.

"Therefore, net credit risk linked to Cyprus is not material for ING Bank. ING Insurance/Investment Management has no credit risk linked to Cyprus," ING said.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Sara Webb, John Stonestreet)