Dutch banking and insurance giant ING on Wednesday said net profits more than doubled year-on-year backed by sales in Asia, adding it aimed to sell its European insurance business through an inital public offering by 2014. The Amsterdam-based group said net profit jumped to 1.8 billion euros ($2.3 billion) from 728 million euros in 2012, mainly on sales of insurance businesses in Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand. Underlying net profit also surged 38 percent from 579 million euros to 800 million euros year-on-year, ING said in a statement. \"ING Group posted strong results in the first quarter, despite a challenging operating environment and a weak macroeconomic climate,\" it added. Jan Hommen, the group\'s chief executive said ING completed a successful sale of its US-based life insurance business last week as the group continued to repay a 10 billion-euro bailout from the Dutch state received during the 2008 banking crisis. \"The transaction satisfied our agreement with the European Commission to sell 25 percent of the US business before a year-end deadline while raising 500 million euros for the group,\" Hommen said in the statement. ING and the Commission in November agreed on an extension for the bank to pay back the bailout loan which will give the group more time to sell its insurance businesses. European competition authorities want ING to sell at least a quarter of its US-based insurance business before the end of the year, another half by late 2014 and the remaining quarter by the end of 2016. \"With the milestone completed, we are now accelerating preparations for the base case for an IPO of our European insurance company with the aim of being ready to go to the market by 2014,\" said Hommen. ING noted its expenses were stable compared with a year ago, reflecting the impact of cost-cutting measures. The group announced in February that it intended to cut 2,400 jobs in the Netherlands and Belgium. The bank, which employs about 90,000 people, has so far announced 7,450 job losses since November 2011.