Stafford makes two agri hires in London

Global investment group Stafford Capital Partners has announced the appointment of two agriculture executives, Marek Guizot and James Allen, who joined the London-based real assets division last month.

Global investment group Stafford Capital Partners has announced the appointment of two agriculture executives, Marek Guizot and James Allen, who joined the firm’s London-based real assets division last month.

As investment manager, timber, Guizot’s role will focus on the Phaunos Timber Fund, managing investor relations, asset due diligence and monitoring of investment performance.

As investment manager, agriculture, Allen joins as a full-time employee after working on the Stafford Agriculture strategy for the last 18 months. He is responsible for investment appraisal, financial modelling, due diligence, negotiation and investor reporting.

“We are deepening our real assets capabilities, with this added specialist expertise in timberland and agriculture building on recent infrastructure hires,” said Angus Whiteley, CEO at Stafford, in a statement.

Guizot was previously forestry director at Green Resources, a forest products company operating across East Africa. Prior to this he was a principal at Pöyry Management Consulting UK, leading a team providing advisory services to stakeholders in the forest sector.

Allen was previously a senior analyst at EBG Capital, an agricultural investment advisory firm, where he completed mandates for family offices, the UN Food & Agriculture Office and the German International Development Agency.

Stafford Agriculture provides fund management to institutions seeking global agriculture exposure, through advisory and fund of funds.

The Phaunos Timber Fund is a closed-ended global timber investment company which Stafford has managed since July of 2014. During the six month period ending 30 June 2016, its strategy was “characterized by the continued disposal of non-yielding, higher risk assets, further focus on cost control and additional cost reductions, [while] also focusing on establishing more sustainable harvesting revenues,” according to a financial report from the company.

The fund’s (unaudited) net asset value per share during that period increased by 10.2 percent to 54 cents; while the group’s total NAV increased by 7.4 percent to $299.4 million.

“While this includes a significant element of foreign exchange gain, it reflects the manager’s success both in cutting costs and disposing of loss making assets,” wrote chairman Henry Studholme. “It also includes a realized gain on the sale of assets of $8.3 million and takes place against a background of continued challenging market and economic conditions.”

In addition to the appointments of Guizot and Allen, the firm concurrently announced that Michelle Ewart has been named head of business development, North America. Prior to Stafford, she served as managing director at Meritage Capital, a boutique investment management firm for hedge funds.

Stafford has a global presence of 4.5 billion under management and advice from over 75 institutional investors across Europe, the US and Australia. It has specialist investment teams focused on agriculture, credit, infrastructure, private equity, sustainable capital, timber and venture capital.