Recently sold Irish Forestry Funds
In recent weeks newspapers have made comment on the sale of Irish Forestry funds to AXA IM. The commentary around this has been negative and, we feel, adversely affecting the very important forestry industry in Ireland.
Green Belt would like to address some of those elements in the articles which presented an overly negative view of the market and longer term future of the forestry industry.
Timber is a global commodity and traded internationally. As such, global political and environmental issues can affect the pricing of timber in Ireland. In Germany and Austria there have been attacks by a Pine Beetle that have damaged larges swathes of the countries forestry. This has been due to the drier summers and less cold winters (no widescale frost to kill off these and other pests). As a result, there are larger than normal volumes of timber on the European market and this has resulted in a softening of timber prices. The threat of a pestilence to Ireland's forestry is constant and one we have some protection with our island status and stringent phytosanitary border controls. However, there is no guarantee the beetle won't invade our shores, but this risk is limited. The increase in new housing development in Ireland has seen less Irish timber exported versus other years, as the indigenous demand has increased. With Brexit on the horizon and a potential recession, there are fears this price will dampen even further. Our opinion, based on market research and expert analysis, suggests that the ever increasing demand for timber from the UK markets (2nd largest importer of timber in the World) and the lack of tariff on timber imports into the UK, should keep the prices relatively strong into that region. The home market should also remain buoyant and the development of new export markets as well as other and more varied uses for the timber develop.
There is one major fact that remains true - timber is best stored.....on the stump - i.e. if prices are low, timber will still grow and add value.
We are very proud of our forestry industry and work tirelessly to ensure it continues to thrive, develop and expand. We look forward to bringing you on that journey too.
We work closely with all our clients - institutions, private land owners, private investors, farmers - to guide them through the acquisition, establishment, management and harvesting of their forestry asset. All fees are action based and terms agreed at the outset of the relationship.
Green Belt offers investment into private forestry through numerous vehicles and most recently an initiative named FACT (www.fact.ie). This has been established as a limited company, with a full set of management fee's and operations costs outlined. Our intention with FACT and our other investments, is to consolidate the private estate and return as much value to all stakeholders as possible - for Green Belt, this entails developing a long term, value adding relationship enhanced by the scale of our client base, management and operations.