AXA Insurance Company has bought three forest estates in Finland, covering an area of 3,700 hectares. The acquisition was handled by Paris-based AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, which is looking to grow a forestry portfolio.
The €11.2 million investment, AXA Real Estate’s first forest acquisition outside France, marks the beginning of its strategy to diversify its portfolio and the start of an increased focus on forestry, according to the firm.
“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 capitalize on the strong market sentiment and attractive returns,” Christophe Lebrun, head of forest investment at AXA Real Estate, commented. “Furthermore, as a real asset, forestry is a safe haven investment and such stability gives it resilience to crisis.”
As part of its ‘alternatives’ investment strategy, AXA Real Estate intends to grow its forestry portfolio by targeting investments primarily in Western Europe and the Nordics. AXA acquired the assets from Helsinki-based forestry company UPM, which will continue to provide forest management and timber harvesting services to ensure sustainable management of the three forests.
The acquisition brings AXA Real Estate’s total forestry assets under management to approximately €100 million, comprising over 17,600 hectares in total.
Reporting by Thomas Duffell