ING Initiates $1.2B European Healthcare Fund

Targeting the growing demand for healthcare properties in Europe, ING Real Estate launched the ING European Healthcare Property Fund today. The investment vehicle, which will ultimately have an anticipated total of about €800 million, or approximately $1.2 billion to play with, will focus on cure, care and commercial healthcare real estate. As is the case in the U.S., the mushrooming population of aging individuals and the general increase in demand for healthcare, are spurring the growth of Western Europe’s healthcare property sector, currently valued at approximately €400 billion. “We have the same demographic issues of double aging and more senior citizens; and the average life expectancy increases every year,” Wietse R.H. de Vries , fund manager for ING’s European Healthcare Property Fund, told CPN today. And with the growing demand for healthcare, healthcare companies are looking for alternatives to funding their business; a factor that dovetails with the fund’s goals. “They take real estate off the balance sheet and do sale-leaseback transactions.”  For the most part, the fund will focus its activities on the thriving healthcare markets in France, Germany and the Netherlands. However, should the appropriate opportunity present itself, investors will consider options in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Targeted assets will be predominantly–but not completely–limited to existing facilities. “If we do any development,” de Vries said, “it will be in the form of forward acquisitions, turnkey acquisitions where we don’t take on development risk, just vacancy risk.” ING expects the fund’s first closing to take place at the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth quarter of this year.  Headquartered in The Hague, ING Real Estate is engaged in the development, financing and investment management of premium real estate across the world. The company, a division of global financial institution ING Group, has a portfolio valued at over €100 billion.