The sales of forestry assets in Florida, South Carolina and Vermont were made from Timbervest Partners I, the firm’s first 10-year fund, which closed on $231 million in 2005.
Fund I has been divesting assets for several years “as opportunities present themselves”, said according to Bill Boden, managing partner, Timbervest. “We will stay with this proven strategy until all of the assets in the fund are sold.” Timbervest has the flexibility to extend the fund as needs be for divestment, he added.
All three properties were sold to investors: 2,416 acres in Kershaw County, South Carolina, were bought by an undisclosed timberland investment firm after nine years in Timbervest’s portfolio; and 1,243 acres in Washington County, Vermont, was sold to a high net worth individual after nine years in the portfolio. Both properties have recreational value as well as timber products.
The largest property, 6,710 acres in Lafayette County, Florida, was sold to an “environmentally-themed investment entity”, according to the release.
“Since 2006, the fund has owned this environmentally-sensitive asset, which also possesses recreational appeal given its proximity to the Suwannee River Water Conservation District,” reads the release. “The buyer purchased the critically located tract because of its attractive characteristics, proximity to nearby public lands and future timber harvesting opportunities.”
Timbervest completed deployment of the $409 million 2011-vintage Fund III in September with 33,200 acres in the portfolio. The $45 billion Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company, the state’s asset and fiduciary management firm, is one of the fund’s LPs. Timbervest Partners II closed on $427 million in 2007.
The firm is considering launching new investment opportunities but is still deciding which regions to target and what type of structure it would offer, according to Boden.
Timbervest’s latest sale coincides with a wealth of timberland transactions in the US as timberland values improve; in the US South, the weighted average per acre increased 7.7 percent between 2012 and 2013 to $1,595 an acre. The weighted average across the whole US bounced a huge 54.65 percent during the same period, but that figure is bound to be volatile due to the inclusion of highly valued timber in the Pacific Northwest which can hugely skew the data if a single large transaction occurs there, according to sources.