UK - A healthcare fund run by specialist investor and developer Medicx has raised £45m (€55.1m) in capital from a number of institutional investors, the National Grid UK Pension Scheme, the Merseyside Pension Fund, Henderson Global Investors and Prudential.

The Medicx Fund invests in healthcare assets in the UK, including specialist care premises, private hospitals and diagnostic clinics.

CB Richard Ellis Real Estate Finance acted as placement agent for the fund, and is also strategic property adviser for the Merseyside Pension Fund.

Mark Evans, head of equity placement at CBRE Real Estate Finance, said a growing number of UK pension funds and institutional investors were looking to gain exposure to the sector.

He attributed this to a growing recognition of healthcare real estate as a viable investment class, a growing demand for defensive, income-producing investments and the high competition in the main sectors of office, retail and industrial.

"More of the institutions are now looking to gain exposure to the sector," he said.

"It is a sector that has always been difficult to gain an exposure to."

Investment Property Databank (IPD) has an index for the sector, based on a £1.9bn sample of 571 properties, which shows the sector outperforming the wider UK property market during three consecutive years from 2007.

The sector achieved a total return of 5.4% in 2009, buoyed by a 7.8% income return in spite of a 2.2% capital depreciation.

Evans said the IPD index was an important step for institutional investors to become interested in the sector.

He said the number of investment products offering access to the healthcare sector was growing, but highlighted the importance of being able to identify the best operators and managers.

The MedicX Fund is owned by healthcare premises developer and manager Medicx - Evans said this allowed the fund to "drill down and understand exactly what is going on within the business".