Stafford raises largest-ever timberland secondaries fund

Stafford International Timberland Fund IX is the largest fund yet raised by Stafford and brings its timberland AUM to $2.9bn.

Real assets specialist Stafford Capital Partners has held the final close on its largest ever fund.

The London-headquartered firm has raised $695 million for Stafford International Timberland Fund IX, bringing its total timberland assets under management to $2.9 billion, according to a statement.

Fund IX has already made eight investments, accounting for 33 percent of the fund. Five existing investors contributed 56 percent of the capital, with five new investors accounting for the rest, the statement noted.

“To have reached this milestone amongst a global pandemic is a testament to the resilience of the global timberland market and Stafford’s diverse investment approach including secondaries, co-investments and primary fund commitments,” said co-managing partner of timberland Stephen Addicott in the statement.

Stafford’s timberland funds target existing softwood, hardwood and eucalyptus plantations around the world, mainly on a secondary basis. Fund IX was targeting $750 million, according to Secondaries Investor data, with National Pension Service of Korea (NPS) committing $150 million.

Predecessor Stafford International Timberland VIII raised $612.5 million, against a target of $500 million, by final close in 2018, Secondaries Investor reported.

According to intermediary Setter Capital, $85 million of agriculture and timber stakes traded on the secondaries market in the first half of this year, down from $724 million in the first half of last year.

“Timberland values are holding quite steady, so some people have decided to sell and pursue opportunities in other markets,” Addicott told affiliate publication Agri Investor in July last year.

Stafford has $8.1 billion in assets under management across infrastructure, timberland, agriculture and sustainable private equity.