AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets has added more than 4,600 hectares to its forestry portfolio with the acquisition of assets in Ireland and France.

The manager, behalf of clients, bought a 4,074-hectare forestry portfolio in Ireland and a 594-hectare forest in Toulouse, South-West France for an undisclosed sum.

UK forestry management group Gresham House will act as the operating partner for the Irish portfolio, with forestry company Veon providing the forestry management services.

The Toulouse forest is managed by the Forestry Club de France.

Following these transactions, AXA IM - Real Assets’ forestry portfolio now totals 41,000 hectares, with 15,000 hectares in France, 22,000 hectares in Finland and 4,000 hectares in Ireland.

Christophe Lebrun, head of forestry at AXA IM - Real Assets, said: “These acquisitions, which reaffirm our commitment to responsible investing, are well aligned with our ambition to geographically diversify our forestry portfolio by crop type and maturity profile.

“The ability to source and then acquire what is one of the largest forestry portfolios to come on to the UK and Irish market in recent years demonstrates the strength of our origination capabilities, whilst the attractive income profile will benefit investors moving forward.”

Lebrun said with the wood market in Ireland forecast to double by net realisable volume over the next five years, this acquisition provides the company with a significant footprint at the early stage in this growth phase.

At the same time, Ireland benefits from an optimal climate, which supports some of the highest growth rates.

“The Toulouse acquisition was a rare opportunity to acquire a single asset close to a major conurbation and offers the longer term potential to significantly enhance value both through improved environmental management and land value creation,” Lebrun said.