EXPO 2010: ING eyes first close of €750m fund

The only European real estate fund ING has launched this year, its €750m shopping centre vehicle, should hold a first close in the next three months, PERE learned at this year’s EXPO Real conference in Munich.

ING Real Estate Investment Management is aiming to hold a first close on its €750 million European Shopping Centre Fund before the end of the year.

Will Rowson, European chief investment officer, told PERE at the EXPO REAL property show in Munich today the retail property fund was the only fund ING had launched this year and the only one it was currently marketing.

“I am confident we will hold a first close by the end of the year,” he said, though he declined to predict how much equity it would corral. 

Launched in March, the core, core-plus vehicle has a top target of €750 million with a minimum of €500 million, which should give it capacity to acquire up to €1.5 billion of assets.

“We chose shopping centres because they are really in demand,” said Rowson. “With 112 centres, we  are also the third largest shopping centre owner in Europe behind Unibail-Rodamco and Klepierre, and the largest unlisted owner, so that gives us a lot of expertise when it comes to not only buying assets but also with tenants.”

Rowson added that the current high levels of investor due diligence meant that unless a firm could demonstrate a “serious track record”, there was vey little chance of entering talks with potential limited partners.

“Investors have got a number of boxes to tick starting with track record, stability and issues such as low leverage.”

He added that demand for shopping centres was mainly focused on France and Germany, so the firm was likely to start investing in those markets.

It will be making fresh investments rather than seeding the fund with centres developed by ING.

The fundraising effort comes despite the whole of ING Real Estate Investment Management being put up for sale earlier this year through Morgan Stanley. Bids from interested parties were reportedly due in by the end of September.