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Grosvenor makes first African foray

The indirect investment arm of the British property firm has committed $30 million to RMB Westport’s second sub-Saharan real estate opportunistic fund.

Grosvenor Group, the London-based property investor, has made its first venture into sub-Saharan Africa. The firm has committed $30 million to RMB Westport’s second opportunistic fund.

The investment in RMB Westport Real Estate Development Fund II has been made by Grosvenor’s indirect investment team which, to date, has committed £150 million (€193 million; $217 million) to a variety of third-party managers internationally. These include: IO Asset Management in the UK; High Street Equity in the USA; Kefren Capital Real Estate in Spain; and Propertylink in Australia.

“The investment in RMB Westport is a unique opportunity for Grosvenor to gain exposure to a growing market in a region that lacks high-grade office, retail and industrial space,” commented Chris Taite, Grosvenor Group investment director.

RMB Westport, the Sub-Saharan real estate investment manager, brought its second opportunistic real estate fund to the market in September 2015. The firm is aiming to raise between $450 million and $500 million for the vehicle, and recently held a first close above $200 million.

RMB Westport will develop a combination of shopping centers, office buildings and industrial assets, targeting primarily Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and the Ivory Coast for the fund.

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.