EXCLUSIVE: RMB Westport seeks $500m for second Africa fund

The team behind the RMB Westport Real Estate Development Fund have hit the fundraising trail again for an offering nearly double the size of its predecessor.

RMB Westport, the Sub-Saharan real estate investment manager, has brought a second opportunistic real estate fund to the market and is close to achieving a first close, PERE can reveal.

The firm is aiming to raise between $450 million and $500 million for the vehicle, which is expected to have a slightly-widened investment remit taking in investments in the Ivory Coast as well as the firm’s previously targeted markets of Nigeria, Ghana and Angola.

RMB Westport declined to comment when approached, but it is understood that a first closing for the fund is expected to be achieved within a matter of weeks.

RMB Westport is a joint venture real estate investment management firm between Rand Merchant Bank, a division of Johannesburg-based FirstRand Bank, and property company Westport Property Group.

The original RMB Westport Real Estate Development Fund attracted $256 million at final closing in 2012 but, including co-investment from its investors, the firm ultimately corralled more than $400 million for its investments.

The fund was aimed primarily at retail and office investments that required equity of between $15 million and $40 million. Target returns are expected to be between 20 percent IRR and 25 percent IRR and a 2x equity multiple. The second offering is expected to follow a similar tack both in terms of investments and returns.

The original 8-year vehicle attracted 10 investors, believed to include the United Arab Emirates’ Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

In so doing, it became one of the biggest real estate investment managers focused on Sub-Saharan real estate, which is widely considered still as something of a fledgling market as far as institutional grade investment is concerned.

Nonetheless, in the last couple of years the number of real estate investment managers raising institutional capital for the region has grown, with certain firms now with multiple vehicles under management.