Lend Lease is to launch a A$400m private equity fund to invest in distressed assets in Australia.

It is the first such local launch since the global financial crisis struck.

Lend Lease has signed up a small group of domestic and international institutional investors for the new fund, to be known as Lend Lease Real Estate Partners No 3 Fund.

It is expected to make an announcement to the market this week.

The fund is expected to buy shopping centres and office buildings priced between $80m and $100m from distressed owners and companies.

The Australian