ING REIM captures €70m Unilever commitment

Unilever pension fund makes commitment of more than €70 million to the ING Dutch funds of ING Real Estate Investment Management’s European business. Unilever switched from investing in real estate directly to indirectly in January 2009.

ING Real Estate Investment Management has corralled an equity commitment from the Dutch pension fund of global food giant Unilever, the latest example of the fund’s strategic shift from direct to indirect real estate investment.

ING REIM said in an announcement this morning that it had garnered a €70 million commitment from Unilever’s Progress pension fund. The firm, led in Europe by Pieter Hendrikse, did not divulge exactly which vehicles would benefit from the commitment, but said it would be allocated to its ING Dutch Funds.

ING REIM added that the Progress fund was considering making further commitments to other ING REIM investment vehicles, some of which are in the due diligence stage.

Progress switched strategy from direct to indirect investing in January last year. It appointed Richard Ellis, the global property services firm, to sell 52 assets valued then at €600 million of residential and retail assets in the Netherlands via either individual sales or portfolio transactions. The proceeds of the sales were to go into indirect investment mandates such as its commitment to ING REIM.

By September last year, Progress had completed more than €500 million of its assets, including the €86 million sale of Unilever’s corporate headquarters to German fund manager Real IS.