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CHICAGO-Equity International, the locally based co-creation of Sam Zell and Gary Garrabrant, has received approximately $500 million in equity capital commitments for its fourth fund. The fund will invest in real estate-related companies based outside of the US, says Garrabrant, who is CEO of the firm. Garrabrant says the firm projects a “mid-20′s annualized return over the life of our investment” and estimates the total value of the firm could be $1.5 billion.

Investors for the fund include university endowments, pension plans, insurance companies, family foundations and private investors. “We are in the partnering business so we co-invest with world-class local partners,” he says. The fund will focus on countries with large populations and emerging middle-classes, such as Mexico, Egypt, Brazil, China and India, he says. Equity International will invest in companies that specialize in a variety of different types of real estate including residential housing, senior housing, retail, office, hotels and industrial properties such as logistics and warehouse facilities, Garrabrant tells GlobeSt.com.

Garrabrant said the firm invests more than just capital. Equity International has helped Mexico-based homebuilder Homex and Brazil-based homebuilder Gafisa go public on the New York Stock Exchange. The firm has helped the companies it invests in with changing their accounting practices, evaluating and grooming management, and even assistance in choosing the CFO and CEO for BR Malls, an owner and operator of shopping centers based in Brazil, Garrabrant says. “It is a very hands-on approach,” he says.

Since Equity International was formed in 1999, the firm has raise more than $1 billion and invested in 15 companies through three separate funds. The fourth fund “is really a continuation of what we have been doing the last 10 years,” he says. Some of the companies that the company has previously invested in include China-based homebuilding Xinyuan and NH Hoteles, based in Madrid. Homex grew from constructing 5,000 homes in 2001 to constructing 50,000 homes last year, Garrabrant says.

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