US - Natixis Capital Partners (NCP), the international property investment firm, has closed its third private equity real estate fund with €420m raised from European institutional investors.

Captiva Capital Partners III, which opened to investors in May 2008 and focuses on investing in corporate property transactions in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Benelux, closed at the start of 2009 but has already invested approximately a third of its equity.

John van Oost, managing partner of NCP, said: "Since creating NCP in 2001, our strategy has focused on executing corporate transactions, including structured sale and leasebacks and pre-let developments.

"As the global credit crisis has significantly reduced access to capital, corporations and governments are increasingly considering their real estate as an instrument to generate liquidity. Whilst this is particularly true in the current environment, we see this trend continuing in the longer-term," he added.

Institutional investors invested in the fund included pension funds, insurance companies and banks from the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

The fund uses sector-specific investment platforms to invest in German healthcare and mixed-used/industrial properties and Italian retail warehousing.

NCP's Parisian management team will be responsible for sourcing opportunistic corporate real estate investments which offer redevelopment potential in France.

Natixis has set an investment period of three years but hopes to have the fund invested before then.

"We would hope to get the fund invested before the three-year period expires, but in the current market we are being that bit more cautious in terms of investment," said Phil Holland, chief financial officer for NCP.

"We are undertaking a lot more due diligence and generally deals are taking longer because of the conditions of the market and the position of a lot of the banks."

M3 Capital Partners and Natixis advised NCP on Captiva Capital Partners III. To date, Captiva III has invested €165m of equity in assets.

NCP's first fund, Captiva I, focuses on Italian sale and leaseback, while Captiva II formed a German office operator that became the first German REIT in 2007.

NCP has made €7.5bn worth of transactions since its inception.

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