AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, the leading real estate portfolio and asset manager in Europe has completed the acquisition of three forest estates in Finland, covering 3,700 hectares in total, for a consideration of 11,2 million EUR with UPM, one of the leading forest industry companies in Europe and a major forest owner in Finland. AXA Real Estate has undertaken the acquisition on behalf of AXA Insurance Company.
The transaction is AXA Real Estate’s first forest acquisition, on behalf of its clients, outside of France and marks the beginning of its strategy to diversify its portfolio in geographies where forestry-related industries account for a significant proportion of GDP. The acquisition brings AXA Real Estate’s total forestry assets under management to 100 million EUR, comprising over 17,600 hectares in total. UPM will continue to provide forest management and timber harvesting services to ensure sustainable management of these forests.
Christophe Lebrun, Head of Forest Investment at AXA Real Estate, commented: “Investor appetite for alternative asset classes has seen a marked increase in recent years while demand remains for strong and sustainable returns. As a sector, forestry is underpinned by robust economic fundamentals and, through being one of the first movers in to this sector within Europe, AXA Real Estate is in a prime position to capitalise on the strong market sentiment and attractive returns. Furthermore, as a real asset, forestry is a safe haven investment and such stability gives it resilience to crisis.
“We are pleased to have concluded this sale and the related service agreement with AXA Real Estate. I am convinced that AXA Real Estate’s professional asset management and UPM’s forestry expertise together will benefit both parties,” states Sauli Brander, Senior Vice President, UPM Wood Sourcing and Forestry.