Texas Teachers invests in Brazilian company

Through its co-investment fund with LaSalle, the $124 billion pension plan is buying a stake in self-storage owner GuardeAqui.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas is making a play in the Brazilian self-storage sector, buying a stake in a partnership between São Paulo-based firm GuardeAqui and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners (MSAIP). The pension system made the investment through Ranger Co-investment Fund III, a co-investment vehicle managed by LaSalle Investment Management.

The parties declined to comment, but PERE understands that Ranger invested $27 million in the GuardeAqui and MSAIP partnership, which was announced in February. With the help of MSAIP’s investment, GuardeAqui already has expanded its portfolio from five operating properties and two development projects in Brazil to seven operating properties and three development projects. The size of MSAIP’s investment in GuardeAqui has not been disclosed. The MSAIP/GuardeAqui venture will invest R$800 million (€265 million; $330 million) to R$1 billion in self-storage properties through 2018 and plans to launch between 45 and 50 projects over the next five years, Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico reported earlier this year.

In July 2013, LaSalle received $200 million in equity from Texas Teachers to invest in real estate co-investment opportunities globally through Ranger Co-Investment Fund III. The commitment was the third round of capital that the pension plan committed to the fund series, having previously invested $200 million each in Ranger I in 2009 and Ranger II in 2011.

GuardeAqui was established in 2006 and currently has a portfolio of nearly 60,000 square meters, or approximately 645,835 square feet, of leaseable space comprising ten assets in the São Paulo metropolitan area, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Campinas and Ribeirão Preto. In 2011, Chicago-based Equity International (EI) made a $58 million investment into GuardeAqui, and reportedly owned 77 percent of the firm when the MSAIP joint venture was formed earlier this year.

Self-storage is an emerging property sector in Brazil, with approximately 90 facilities in the entire country, the majority of which are concentrated in São Paulo, according to GuardeAqui. By contrast, the United States has approximately 50,000 self-storage facilities.