The Teacher Retirement System of Texas, one of the largest pension funds in the U.S., has put its money behind Brazilian self-storage operator GuardeAqui.

The retirement system invested in GuardeAqui through its Ranger Funds, which are managed by LaSalle Investment Management, a division of JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle). The amount of the investment wasn’t available.

The retirement system has pumped $200 million into Ranger Fund III, the investment arm behind the GuardeAqui funding. As of Dec. 30, the retirement system’s assets totaled $124 billion.

Other stakeholders in GuardeAqui include Equity International and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners. Equity International made its first investment in the operator in 2011, picking up a 70 percent stake for $58 million. Morgan Stanley became a partner in February.

“We are very pleased to partner with GuardeAqui’s impressive operating team,” said Dan Witte, managing director of LaSalle Investment Management. “We are equally confident in Equity International’s experience as an active shareholder.”

Large player in growing market

GuardeAqui is the leading self-storage operator in Brazil, where only about 90 self-storage facilities are operating. GuardeAqui owns 10 facilities covering 645,800 square feet, up from five facilities in February 2014. The company has three facilities under development. Most of its facilities are in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil.

Allan Paiotti, CEO of GuardeAqui, said the company would put the new investment toward expansion.

“We are delighted to welcome them as a partner,” Paiotti said of the retirement system. “We will continue to execute on our pipeline and expand GuardeAqui’s footprint in Brazil.”

GuardeAqui is not the only Brazilian operator backed by U.S. investors. Metro Self Storage, a storage operator based in Lake Forest, IL, is a partner in MetroFit, a joint venture with a Brazilian real estate firm. MetroFit opened its first facility in São Paulo this year and has two more facilities in the works.

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Alexander Harris