Lend lease considers buying ING retail property fund

SYDNEY: Lend Lease Group, Australia’s largest property developer, may buy the ING Retail Property Fund to gain assets including the Joondalup shopping center in Perth and the Harbour Town complex on the Gold Coast.

There’s no guarantee Lend Lease’s involvement will lead to a transaction, the company said in a statement today after the Financial Review named Lend Lease and Australia’s sovereign wealth fund as the preferred bidders.

The unlisted ING fund, which may be valued at A$1.4 billion (RM4.38 billion), is due to pick a buyer today, the Financial Review reported. Australia’s Future Fund and Lend Lease’s fund management unit will hold the Joondalup asset, while the other properties will be kept in a separate vehicle, the newspaper said.

The ING Retail Property Fund includes 17 properties in Australia and New Zealand, according to the fund’s Web site.

Lend Lease added 0.3% to A$9.44 at 11.13am in Sydney trading. The stock is up 31% this year.

A message left with ING Retail Chief Executive Officer Anthony Bertoldi wasn’t returned. Will Hetherton, spokesman for the Future Fund, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Colonial First State Global Asset Management had flagged a potential A$1 billion raising by the CFS Retail Property Trust for a possible bid on the ING fund, according to the Financial Review, without saying where it got the information. -- Bloomberg

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