ING Investment Management has opened its third private equity fund to new investments from institutional investors – looking to raise between $150 million and $200 million for its fund of private equity funds operation.

The latest ING offering will follow the previous two private equity funds in looking to provide a broadly diversified Australian portfolio of businesses. The manager currently has about $300 million in funds of funds for private equity. The fund will be a closed-end unit trust, for which ING has committed $50 million of its own money as a co-investor. It has a life expectancy of 12 years. Minimum investment is $2 million. ING also manages a listed private equity company, Private Equity Access Ltd (PEAL), which reported, in February, a profit of $3.2 million for the six months to December. One of its managers, Deutsche Private Equity, successfully exited its 51 per cent stake in Tempo Services, the previously troubled cleaning and security company, with the takeover by ISS Group, subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval. Jon Schahinger, ING’s head of private equity, said the Tempo exit demonstrated the opportunistic nature of private equity investing. “We are pleased with the outcome of the Tempo investment, which reinforces private equity’s ability to achieve short-term exits in the right circumstances while maintaining a long-term strategic outlook for investors,” he said. The exit follows ING PEAL’s first private equity exit in April 2005, with the sale of Affinity Health (by Ironbridge Capital) for about three times its initial cost. PEAL has so far committed about $66 million to nine private equity manager funds.

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