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FIM launches institutional timber fund

The UK timberland fund manager will target institutional investors for the first time in the hope of raising between £200m and £300m overall.

FIM Services, the UK-focused forestry fund manager, is planning to launch a £200 million – £300 million fund targeting institutional investors globally.

This will be the first institutionally-focused fund for the firm; FIM has generally targeted private capital until now.

FIM has decided to launch this fund in the wake of increased enquiries from institutional investors such as pension funds and large family offices.

“Historically UK timberland has been owned by high net worth individuals, but the size and scale of the market has increased in recent years as plantation values have risen,” George Krempels, fund manager at FIM told Agri Investor. “Combined with FIM’s position as a key player in the UK timberland market, and subsequent access to off-market opportunities, this presents an opportunity for institutional scale access to the UK timberland investment.”

The fund will target £100 million for the first close from one or more investors, according to George Krempels, fund manager at FIM.

“FIM has an attractive pipeline of potential acquisitions that would seed the Fund’s portfolio,” he told Agri Investor. “Over time FIM hope to increase this to £200 million – £300 million.”

FIM usually fundraises over several stages. It recently raised a further £10 million for the retail-focused FIM Sustainable Timber and Energy Fund taking the total to £123 million, and it is targeting a further £15 million by the end of November. The fund closed for the first time on £39 million in 2010. It also deploys capital as it raises funds. The average commitment to this fund is £150,000.

FIM has yet to finalise a structure for the new fund as it negotiates terms with potential cornerstone investors, but will not use a placement agent, according to Krempels.

FIM currently manages over £500 million in assets – £150 million of which is managed within FIM Sustainable Timber and Energy Fund and FIM Forest Fund I. The remainder is managed for a large family office portfolio and several private clients, according to Krempels.