Brazilian self-storage operator GuardeAqui and investment partner Equity International have agreed to a joint venture with Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners (AIP). Funds from the deal will be used to acquire, retrofit and develop self-storage assets under the GuardeAqui brand name, the companies announced in a press release.
GuardeAqui’s current portfolio includes more than 40,000 square meters (about 430,556 square feet) of leasable space in five operating facilities in the Brazilian cities of Campinas, Ribeirão Preto and São Paulo, as well as two properties under development in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro.
“We are very excited to partner with GuardeAqui in this joint venture. We are confident in GuardeAqui’s industry-leading execution and operational capabilities to retrofit and develop self-storage facilities in Brazil, a country with a severe undersupply of quality properties and yet demonstrated, growing demand,” said David Boyle, chief investment officer and co-head of the Morgan Stanley AIP real estate group. “We are also pleased to work closely with Equity International in this venture and believe their experience and expertise will be integral to the continuing success of GuardeAqui.”
The companies estimated there are about 90 facilities currently operating in Brazil, mostly servicing residents and businesses in São Paulo. “The self-storage sector in Brazil is currently characterized by growing demand and product awareness, yet limited competition consisting largely of single-store operators with mixed-quality properties and insufficient capital for meaningful growth,” officials said in the joint release.
“The market opportunity for self-storage in Brazil is tremendous, underpinned by limited supply along with favorable demographic trends and economic growth,” added Allan Paiotti, CEO of GuardeAqui. “We are honored to partner with Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners to accelerate GuardeAqui’s growth and execute on our pipeline.”
Equity International, a Chicago-based institutional real estate investment company, was already a partner with GuardeAqui. Led by Sam Zell and Tom Heneghan, the investment firm was founded in 1999 and looks for high-growth opportunities with companies in emerging markets outside the United States. It has raised more than $2 billion and invested in 25 portfolio companies in 15 countries.
Established in 2000, Morgan Stanley AIP specializes in assisting institutional and high net worth investors through the design, integration and management of alternative investment programs. AIP has $33.6 billion in assets under management and advisement and employs more than 200 professionals. It has investment offices in Philadelphia, New York, London and Hong Kong.