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Irish sovereign wealth fund backs forestry portfolio launch

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Ireland’s sovereign wealth fund is investing €55m in Irish forestry via a new fund that is also being backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The EIB is investing €28.5m in the fund, which is aiming to make €112m of investment in privately owned forests in Ireland.

The new fund is called The Foraois Limited Partnership and is run by Dasos, a Finland-based “pan-European forest investment fund”.

Eugene O’Callaghan, director of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), said forestry “is a natural asset class for long-term, patient capital investors”.

“[W]e are pleased to invest alongside Dasos and EIB in this initiative which is very consistent with our mandate and with government policy,” he said in a statement.

“It will create a better structure to support availability of timber from Ireland’s private forestry estate and will seek to support greater afforestation levels.”

The new investment was announced in County Wicklow in Ireland today.

Speaking at the event, Ireland minister Andrew Doyle said: “The mobilisation of timber from privately owned forests is a key objective of my department and this investment fund will make a significant contribution towards achieving this goal.”

The EIB’s involvement is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investment, the lynchpin of the European Commission’s plan to boost economic growth and job creation in the EU. 

The EIB says it is one of the world’s largest financiers for forests, and has invested €4.5bn in forest-related projects across Europe and worldwide over the past five years.

According to a statement announcing the new initiative, the Dasos fund is targeting the development of a portfolio of around 10,000 hectares of forests by supporting direct land acquisition, lease contracts, afforestation, and other forms of land management.

It “will seek to address issues faced by small scale forests across the country by working to improve forest management and strengthen the supply of wood for commercial use”, the statement said.

There are an estimated 19,500 private owners of small forests in Ireland, according to the statement.

Separately, a new life science fund backed by ISIF announced a first close of €100m today.

The Seroba Life Sciences Fund III invests in life science companies in Ireland, the UK, and other European markets, although a “limited” number of investments may also be made in the US. 

ISIF’s O’Callaghan said: “The Irish life sciences sector is of critical importance to Ireland’s economic prosperity and ISIF is delighted to continue to support Seroba as a key component of the domestic healthcare venture capital landscape, through our investment in Fund III.”

The new fund’s first investment is in Endotronix Ireland Limited, a subsidiary of a medtech and digital health company, Endotronix Inc. 

Read more about the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund’s portfolio in the February issue of IPE Magazine.

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