Stafford raises $612m for timber secondaries

Fund VIII is focused on acquiring LP stakes and investing separately managed accounts and co-investments.

Stafford Capital Partners has hit an above-target final close on its latest timberland fund after around 19 months in market.

Stafford International Timberland VIII has raised $612.5 million for secondaries and co-investments, above its target of $500 million, the firm said.

SIT VIII has already made three secondaries investments and one co-investment, equivalent to around 21 percent of the fund. In total it has $2.4 billion invested across 170 timberland assets, the firm noted.

The fund has been in market since November 2016 and hit a third close last September on $329 million.

Timberland and agriculture funds secondaries deal volumes fell 19.5 percent year-on-year to $266 million last year, according to intermediary Setter Capital’s Volume Report FY 2017.

In May last year Swiss pension fund ASGA Pensionskasse made a $100 million commitment spread between SIT VIII and a separately managed account focusing on agriculture, the first such account created by Stafford for a limited partner.

The previous fund in the series closed on $484 million in 2015, above its $400 million target. It manages timber investments in the US, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Central America, New Zealand and Australia.

Stafford Capital Partners has more than $5.4 billion in assets under management across agriculture, credit, infrastructure, private equity, sustainable capital, timberland and venture capital.

We interviewed Stafford managing director Bernd Schanzenbaecher last year to find out more about returns on secondaries, LP appetite and agri vs timber deal pipeline. You can read the interview here.