NETHERLANDS - ING Real Estate is limiting its financing of property investments in the Netherlands in order to spread the risks within the ING Group.

"After a strong growth during the past 18 months, we have reached the limits of our budget, and we are therefore slowing down now," spokesman Wieger Sietsma told IPE.

The spokesman contradicted claims suggesting ING RE has capped investment in commercial property in the Netherlands, noting the growth of the investment management business depends on third-party invstors' willingness to invest with ING Real Estate, while the finance business depends on capital from the parent company.

"What we have decided is to become more selective in financing property," he stressed.

"Since the start of 2006, our finance portfolio has increased from €20.5bn to €35.6bn. Slowing down is actually a consequence of our strong growth," Sietsma explained.

"No problems have developed in our credit portfolio during the past 18 months as we have been conservative, by financing loan-to-value at 60-70%.

"ING Real Estate has never joined the trend among competitors of financing 90% or more loan-to-value," he added.

ING Real Estate was created by its parent group ING to develop, finance and investment management in the global property market and now has a total assets under management of over €100bn.