* Lima office to open by year end
* To target consumer, retail, healthcare, education
NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] plans to open an office in Lima and start investing in Peruvian companies through a joint venture it announced on Friday with Peru's largest financial holding company, Credicorp Ltd (BAP.LM) (BAP.N).
Private equity firms have been attracted to South America, particularly markets such as Brazil, lured by higher growth rates than the U.S.
D.C.-based Carlyle said the joint venture would target growth capital and buyout investments in sectors including consumer and retail, healthcare, education and logistics. Those sectors are benefiting from the growth in Peru's middle class, Carlyle said in a press release.
Carlyle said its South American investment team, established in 2008, has made three investments in Brazil and will manage the firm's activities in Peru.
Carlyle said the Lima office will open by year end and will be staffed with four investment professionals -- two from Carlyle and two from Credicorp. (Editing by Carol Bishopric)