REAL ESTATE - ING Real Estate Investment Management has appointed as Peter Helfrich head of its soon-to-open Swedish office. Helfrich was previously senior asset manager of the ING Dutch Retail Fund.

The new office, scheduled to open at the beginning of July, will act as a regional office for investment management operations in the Nordic region.

Its opening follows Helfrich’s involvement in the recent €442m acquisition of a 123-property portfolio from Coop Norden, Sweden’s largest retailer, and a €93m portfolio from Swedish supermarket group ICA under and sale-and-leaseback deal.

The Coop Norden deal – which marked ING’s entry into the Nordic market in December 2005 – comprised supermarkets, hypermarkets and four logistics centres. Coop Norden will lease back the properties for average periods of 12 years.

ING will add the 25 ICA supermarkets to the ING Real Estate Nordic Property Fund scheduled for launch at the end of 2006. Helfrich will manage the fund.

Spokesman Wieger Sietsma said he had no information on the eventual size of the team but said the firm planned to manage the fund locally. It has not yet recruited a fund manager or a CFO.

Helfrich joined ING Real Estate in 2000 from Jones Lang Lasalle.