NORTH AMERICA - The Teacher Retirement System of Texas has approved commitments totalling $300m (€235m) into two real estate opportunity funds. 

The commitments were $150m each into the Apollo AGRE US Real Estate Fund and Westbrook Real Estate Fund IX.

The pension fund concluded its research and approved the investments in April.

Apollo Global Real Estate, which manages the US Real Estate fund, will focus on investments in the US.

It said some deals would involve the purchase of distressed debt on existing properties, with the aim of obtaining ownership of the property in future. 

It will also purchase existing properties that need a new capital infusion to improve the overall performance of the asset.

The commingled fund might also make entity-level investments in existing real estate companies. 

This would be a transaction where Apollo would provide equity for an ownership position in a real estate operating company.

Apollo will be looking at investing in all of the main property types - including office, industrial, retail and apartments - in major metropolitan areas. 

Some specialised property types such as hotels will also be considered. 

The Westbrook Fund IX is a commingled fund managed by Westbrook Partners. 

The investment manager is seeking a $2bn equity raise, and the projected net IRR for investors in the fund is 18%.

Westbrook is looking to make a mixture of distressed debt and equity investments in the commingled fund, which could involve single property transactions and portfolio deals. 

Most of the assets will involve the main property types, in both Europe and the US.

Westbrook has attracted many sizeable commitments from public pension funds in the past few months besides the commitment from Texas Teachers.

One of these was a $100m commitment from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, which has made eight previous investments with the company. 

The most recent of these was a $100m commitment to Westbrook Real Estate Fund VIII in 2008.