BRAZIL – GuardeAqui, Brazil’s leading self-storage operator, has attracted another joint venture partner to further develop its business nationally.

Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners has joined Equity International in the partnership, which already has seven properties in operation or in development.

Funds from the joint venture will be used to acquire, refit and develop branded self-storage assets.

GuardeAqui’s portfolio includes more than 40,000sqm of leasable space in seven facilities, five of which, in Sao Paulo, Campinas and Ribeirao Preto, are completed, while two are under development in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.

The company plans to expand to other large metropolitan areas in south-eastern Brazil and to leverage its first-mover advantage in greater Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

There are around 90 self-storage facilities in all of Brazil, most of them around Sao Paulo.

The majority are single-owner operated and do not have the financial capacity to grow meaningfully.

Brad Beanblossom, senior vice-president at Equity International, said: “Self-storage in Brazil is still a very new concept and asset class but with clear and strong demand dynamics.

“We see tremendous potential for the sector and particularly for GuardeAqui over the long run.

“The addition of Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners to the partnership is evidence of how the company and sector will attract new capital for growth.”

Equity International is a long-term investor in Brazil.

It sees its investment in GuardeAqui as being consistent with its strategy in the country.

“Equity International’s investment in GuardeAqui is really a continuation of our strategy in Brazil, identifying asset classes ready for institutionalisation and developing real estate platforms,” Beanblossom said.

“What we’re doing with GuardeAqui is similar to how we got involved early on with BR Malls and helped grow it into the leading retail property owner/operator in Brazil, and also with Bracor, which became the leading corporate property developer.”