ING plans $244m Asia property fund

The Dutch investment firm is teaming up with South Korean hedge fund Woori Investment and Securities to raise a private equity property fund targeting Southeast Asia.

Woori Investment and Securities, a South Korean broker, has formed a joint venture with investment firm ING to raise a 250 billion won ($244.3 million; €157 million) Southeast Asia property fund in November.

Woori said today it will lead the fund-raising event among Korean institutional investors, while ING will manage the fund.

The expansion into Southeast Asia is part of a wider effort by Woori to boost revenues from its overseas business from five percent to 20 percent in three years. It is one of a number of South Korean investment funds that have been looking to increase revenue by targeting emerging markets. In April, South Korea’s National Pension Service, the world’s fifth-biggest pension fund, announced it has set aside 800 billion won ($806.8 million) for overseas property investment.

Woori is the second largest bank in South Korea, formed in 2001 from the forced merger of four predecessor commercial banks and an investment bank, made necessary by the Asia financial crisis in 1997. The South Korean government is the largest investor in the company.

ING has been increasingly active in Korea. It has acquired a number of supermarkets in the country, including one in Jochiwon, near Seoul, in May. Its $544 million ING Real Estate Asia Retail Fund has now invested 95 percent of its initial target commitment of $600 million, and has a portfolio of more than $1.2 billion, according to the firm