€50m fund bid to invest in Irish forestry assets
Agri-investment management firm SLM Partners is trying to raise €50m to invest in forestry assets in Ireland.
The London-based firm, headed up by Irishman Paul McMahon, plans to transform clear-fell plantations into more sustainable forests by introducing native broad-leaf species, according to details provided to the European Investment Bank.
SLM is seeking €13m in finance from the Luxembourg-based body for the proposed fund, which is still assessing the application.
It had been speculated that SLM had hoped to hold a first close for that fund in the first quarter of this year, but Mr McMahon declined to comment publicly at this stage when contacted by the Irish Independent, citing regulatory reasons.
"The fund will invest in forest assets in Ireland with the aim of transforming clear-fell plantations to more sustainable continuous cover forestry," the application on the EIB's website states.
"This will also involve the introduction of native broadleaf species in what today are monoculture forests of Sitka spruce. This will be supplemented by afforestation on new land when the opportunity is available."
SLM's first fund, the SLM Australia Livestock Fund, is investing in degraded land for beef and cattle with the aim of improving sustainability and production of those assets with better management.
In an interview with financial newswire Bloomberg in October, Mr McMahon said SLM's goal for its investments is to improve the sustainability of agriculture and forestry land, capitalising on the trend toward stronger global environmental regulation and more consumer awareness about sustainability and food production.
Before co-forming SLM in 2009, UCD and Cambridge educated Mr McMahon was vice-president at London-based Climate Change Capital.