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Gresham House and AXA IM team up for forestry fund

The pair have joined forces to manage a forestry portfolio exceeding 4,000 hectares

Gresham House and AXA IM team up for forestry fund

Gresham House Asset Management (GHAM) and AXA Investment Managers have joined forces to manage a forestry portfolio exceeding 4,000 hectares.

GHAM, the UK's largest manager of commercial forestry, gained exclusive rights to manage the 4,074-hectare portfolio of mature Irish forests on a long-term contract.

AXA IM snapped up the portfolio on behalf of clients from forestry consultancy Veon, which is being retained to provide management services.

It is hoped that the portfolio will help GHAM's wider business with on going Brexit uncertainty.

The firm did not disclose how much the portfolio was worth but the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland found the average hectare of forest changed hands for €9,838 (£8,623) in 2016, making the portfolio worth a potential €40 million: although land prices have climbed sharply in the republic in recent years.

Tony Dalwood (pictured), chief executive officer of Gresham House, said: 'The strategic rationale for this partnership, alongside the potential financial returns, are clear and exciting for both Gresham House and AXA IM – Real Assets.

'As the UK’s largest private forestry investment manager, this marks the first step in our ambition to develop a long-term international business platform, increasing assets under management across a wide array of real asset investments.'

GHAM harvests around 10% of the UK's total softwood annually.

The latest addition to the company's portfolio means it now manages over 129,000 hectares for institutions, endowments, family offices and private investors.

Dalwood added: 'We believe there is a significant investment opportunity in forestry and this area will continue to be a key focus for Gresham House moving forward as we look for further ways to add value for our clients.'

'It also gives us a foothold in Ireland which may benefit our wider asset management business as Brexit unfolds.'

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