Netherlands’ ABP and UK’s PPF unite to purchase New Zealand forestry asset

Two European pension funds have joined together to purchase Sinotrans New Zealand Limited’s (Sinotrans NZ) shareholding in Wenita Forest Products Limited (Wenita).

The UK’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and APG Asset Management (APG) on behalf of its Dutch pension fund client ABP, made the acquisition. Wenita is the largest producer of timber in Otago, New Zealand, across almost 30,000 hectares of sustainably managed forests.

Under the agreement, the two investors will acquire the 62 per cent share from Sinotrans NZ. A New Forests-managed fund, the Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 2 (ANZFF2), has owned the other 38 per cent shareholding since 2018. The agreement will bring total ownership of Wenita under New Forests’ management.

Headquartered in Sydney, New Forests is a global forestry investment manager offering high-impact strategies in sustainable forestry and related sectors. Since its inception in 2005, New Forests has earned a reputation for its value-adding asset management approach and has a track record of sustainably managing forestry assets in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and the United States.

Commenting, APG Asset Management Asia head of infrastructure and natural resources, Hans-Martin Aerts, said: “We are pleased to partner with PPF and New Forests to acquire a controlling interest in Wenita. This investment is a great fit with our sustainability strategy and will contribute to ABP’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Wenita is a large-scale sustainably managed forest company with all its plantations being certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). We look forward to working with our partners to ensure a long-term, stable and sustainable investment return for our clients.”

PPF head of infrastructure, timberland and farmland, Lea Dubourg-Hrachovec, added: “Wenita is the fourth addition to our growing programme of direct investments into sustainable, FSC certified forestry assets globally. What attracted us to Wenita is its long-established operational track record, mature, high-quality forest portfolio with a close proximity to the deep-sea port of Chalmers, which makes it a very highly prized forestry asset in New Zealand. We believe Wenita has great long-term potential and we’re very excited to be part of its future alongside our partners APG and New Forests.”

There will be no significant changes to Wenita’s employees following the acquisition. All commercial terms are confidential.

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