ING Real Estate Investment Management ('REIM') has entered into contracts to transfer the management of the ING Office Fund (ASX: IOF) to Investa Property Group.
Investa is also acquiring the 2.5% stake in IOF currently owned by ING entities. The transaction is part of ING's previously stated intention of undertaking a phased withdrawal from the Australian property funds management business in a timely and controlled manner.
The transaction will result in a transitional management arrangement where ING Management Limited ('IML') will remain as the responsible entity of IOF. Investa will assume day-to-day management of IOF and replace ING Real Estate Investment Management Australia ('REIMA') as the manager of the fund. Several ING REIMA employees, led by Tino Tanfara (currently CEO IOF), will join Investa which will ensure a smooth transition and ongoing efficient management of the Fund.
It is intended that, in the future, Investa will either purchase IML or seek unit holder consent to replace IML with an Investa Responsible Entity. The ING Office Fund will be renamed Investa Office Fund (ASX ticker will remain IOF).
Commenting on the transaction, Denis Hickey, CEO ING REIM Australia, said: "Investa is a highly capable office manager with extensive experience in the sector, and has a large, well resourced, integrated platform. This framework, along with the retention of key members of the IOF management team, will ensure IOF unitholders continue to receive high quality management at both an asset and fund level."
In February 2011, ING announced that it had finalized the strategic review of its Australian REIM platform and its five ASX-listed real estate funds and implementation had commenced. ING, together with the independent board of ING Management Limited as the responsible entity for the Australian Funds, have evaluated various options for each Fund with a focus on unlocking the best value for unit holders.
Recently, unit holders of ING Industrial Fund (ASX: IIF) have approved the proposal by Goodman Industrial Funds Management Limited as trustee of the Goodman Trust Australia ('GTA') to acquire all of the units in the ING Industrial Fund (ASX: IIF) via a trust scheme.
In relation to the other three Funds; ING Entertainment Fund (ASX: IEF), ING Healthcare Fund (ASX: IHF) and ING Community Living Fund (ASX: ILF), significant progress has been made evaluating the alternatives to determine the future ownership structure for these funds and work is currently being completed including active discussions with a number of external parties.
Source: ING REIM