AP2, Greater Manchester invest in TIAA-CREF timber venture

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The Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) and Swedish buffer fund AP2 are among investors in TIAA-CREF’s Global Timber Resources (GTR).

Both pension funds each committed $50m (€45.2m) to the new company, designed to invest in timberland assets across different regions, including North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

GTR has been launched by TIAA-CREF with subsidiary Greenwood Resources, a global timber management company.

It closed its fundraising with commitments of $667m, with other investors including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (Caisse) and the TIAA General Account.

GTR will focus on the development and management of sustainable plantation forestry assets to supply growing worldwide demand for wood and forestry products.

Jose Minaya, senior managing director and head of private markets asset management at TIAA-CREF Asset Management, said: “The macroeconomic fundamentals for timber investment are strong, and we see great potential for direct investment in emerging economies where we can benefit from low-cost production and better proximity to growing demand.”

GMPF’s commitment represents around 0.2% of its overall £17.6bn (€24.5bn) portfolio.

Greater Manchester has now made its first timber-related investment within its special opportunities portfolio.

A spokesman for the scheme said: “GMPF has no specific allocation to timber-related funds within its overall investment strategy, but such investment opportunities may be considered in the future.”

He added that the long-term returns for timberland and for the GTR investment were considered consistent with GMPF’s target returns for its special opportunities portfolio.

GWR manages around $1.5bn in assets for institutional investors, which includes the capital committed to GTR.

TIAA-CREF has been investing in timberland since 1998 and manages a portfolio of more than $2bn in timber assets around the world.

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