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Press Release - 6 January 2023
Press Release - 6 January 2023
Gresham House, the specialist alternative asset manager with a significant presence in Ireland, has launched a major new Irish forestry fund strategy to enable Irish and international investors to fund greater forest cover across Ireland.
The “Irish Strategic Forestry Fund” strategy will provide up to €200mn of capital needed to create new forests, making a significant contribution to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan.
The strategy will also acquire existing forest assets and when fully deployed, will represent a portfolio of approximately 12,000 hectares of new and existing forests.
The strategy will be managed from Gresham House’s Dublin office, with Joe O’Carroll acting as Investment Director. Gresham House has the scale and experience of managing large-scale privately funded forestry assets across the world. It has already attracted €35mn from Irish investors, including a €25mn cornerstone investment from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) strategy, Ireland’s sovereign development fund.
ISIF’s capital will complement other Irish and international capital sourced by Gresham House to promote sustainable investments in a sector that is key to addressing the climate crisis.
The new fund has put in place an operational management agreement with Coillte, Ireland’s semi-state manager of forestry and timber investments. The development of the fund will therefore benefit from Coillte’s long-term track record operating in the Irish forestry sector.
Coillte will use its broad expertise to source land, plant trees and manage these forests as part of its overall forest estate, ensuring open access to the public to enjoy these new forests.
Coillte has a strong track record in the acquisition of new land and afforestation and since its establishment in 1989 has successfully planted 100,000 hectares of new forests.
Coillte and Gresham House will also work with other forest management companies to acquire new land and carry out afforestation.
Olly Hughes, Managing Director, Forestry at Gresham House says:
“This initiative will create a platform for enhancing Ireland’s forestry sector, delivering real change and momentum and making a meaningful contribution to Ireland’s crucial afforestation ambitions. The combination of skills the fund brings together will be key to unlocking and developing new forests in Ireland, helping to support the ambitions of the Irish Climate Action Plan. The additional support and momentum ISIF will bring to the fund will also be central to the fund’s success.”
Nick Ashmore, Director of ISIF said:
“This is an example of ISIF’s ability to act as a catalyst for attracting co-investors to bring significant Irish and international capital to major investments in Ireland. It also underlines ISIF’s commitment to climate action as we continue building our €1bn climate investment programme, complementing our existing investments in forestry, renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage. This new fund will drive significant investment in one of Ireland’s key natural resources. It will help deliver on ISIF’s double bottom line mandate of generating a commercial return and supporting economic activity and employment in Ireland, while generating further progress in Ireland’s transition to a Net Zero economy.”
Imelda Hurley, Chief Executive of Coillte adds:
“Coillte is pleased to work with Gresham House and have ISIF as a cornerstone investor in this important initiative. There is an urgent need for Ireland to meet stretching Climate Action targets and creating new forests is integral to the achievement of these targets. The Government’s national afforestation target is 8,000 ha per annum and the long-term target is to achieve 18% forest cover. Currently forest cover in Ireland is 11.6% compared to an EU average of 40%.
“The new Irish Strategic Forestry Fund represents an important first step towards accessing the capital required to enable the creation of new forests which will deliver the multiple benefits of forests for climate, nature, wood and people.”
Notes to editors
About Gresham House
Gresham House is a specialist alternative asset management group, dedicated to sustainable investments across a range of strategies, with expertise across forestry, housing, infrastructure, renewable energy and battery storage, public and private equity. The fund is Gresham House’s third major initiative in Ireland over the past year, following its acquisitions of leading investment manager Appian Asset Management and Burlington Real Estate, a specialist property manager and real estate investment advisor, in 2021 and early 2022, respectively. It also forms part of Gresham House’s aim to expand its existing capability in real assets in Ireland, including in battery energy storage, solar, and sustainable infrastructure. Our origins stretch back to 1857, while our focus is on the future and the long term. Quoted on the London Stock Exchange (GHE:LN) we actively manage c.£7.5bn of assets (unaudited as at 30 September 2022) on behalf of institutions, family offices, charities and endowments, private individuals, and their advisers. We act responsibly within a culture of empowerment that encourages individual flair and entrepreneurial thinking. As a signatory to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), our vision is to always make a positive social or environmental impact, while delivering on our commitments to shareholders, employees and investors.
About Gresham House, Ireland
Gresham House in Ireland was originally established in December 2002 as Appian Asset Management and rebranded following its acquisition by Gresham House plc in June 2021. Gresham House in Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland under the Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive (AIFMD). Gresham House, Ireland is the manager of six funds which invest globally across traditional and alternative asset classes including equities, property, infrastructure, commodities, and forestry. www.greshamhouse.ie
Coillte, Ireland’s semi-state forestry company, is responsible for managing 440,000 hectares of primarily forested lands. It is the nation’s largest forester and producer of certified wood, a natural, renewable and sustainable resource. Coillte is also the largest provider of outdoor recreation in Ireland, it enables wind-energy on the estate, manufactures panel-board wood products and undertakes nature rehabilitation projects of scale. Coillte delivers the multiple benefits of forestry, including forests for climate, for nature, for wood and for people.
Coillte recently announced its new forestry strategic vision which is designed to optimise its contribution to Ireland’s climate targets. Among other things, the aim of this strategic vision is to create new forests and optimise Coillte’s existing forests for greater carbon capture, producing sustainable wood products, enhancing biodiversity, creating more incredible recreational spaces for the enjoyment of our citizens and tourists. For further information visit www.coillte.ie
The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) is a sovereign development fund which has a mandate to invest on a commercial basis in a manner designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland. ISIF is controlled and managed by the National Treasury Management Agency, a State body which provides asset and liability management services to the Irish government. www.isif.ie
Gerry O’Sullivan Gerry@q4pr.ie | (+353) 087-259 7644