LONDON: Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company Plc, an investment company that invests in UK forestry and afforestation assets, announced the acquisition of three afforestation sites and the successful completion of planting at Mountmill Burn.
On 8th August 2022, FSF completed the acquisition of a cluster of afforestation properties near Huntly, Scotland, for £3.4 million (inclusive of tax and other transaction costs). The three properties, Ness Bogie (128.6 hectares), Ream’s Hill (37.6 hectares), and Brown Hill (30.8 hectares), are all located within c.4 miles of each other and encompass a total area of 197 hectares. Once established, the properties represent a package of unconstrained, high yielding and thinnable (which enables accelerated harvesting revenues and supports increased tree growth rates) afforestation schemes, extending FSF’s growing presence in Aberdeenshire.
The acquisition expands the total area of FSF’s portfolio to 8,966 hectares, increases the percentage (by value) of afforestation sites in the portfolio to 40%, and therefore achieves the IPO target of having 40-50% of FSF’s portfolio (by value) allocated to afforestation assets. This key milestone has been reached within nine months of the Company’s IPO.
Completion of planting at Mountmill Burn
At the end of July 2022, FSF successfully completed planting at Mountmill Burn, an afforestation project located in the Scottish Borders, with c.245,000 trees planted. The planting design also incorporated rare and endangered tree species, with c.2,500 Black Poplar and Holm Oak trees planted at the property. This is a key development milestone for the property and is an expected driver of capital appreciation for the portfolio. In addition to the forecasted production of over 44,600 tonnes of sustainable timber for each c.35-year rotation, this project is forecast to not materially negatively impact upon the site’s high baseline biodiversity score (according to DEFRA’s Metric 3.1), whilst significantly extending and improving the habitat for Northern Brown Argus butterflies, which are recognised as a ‘Priority Species’ by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (“BAP”). The project will also sequester 19,794 tonnes of additional CO2 from the atmosphere. Mountmill Burn will now undergo an independent verification to confirm the number of voluntary carbon units accredited to it.
Richard Kelly and Robert Guest, Co-Heads of Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company, commented: “We are delighted to have achieved another major IPO objective of having 40% of the value of the portfolio allocated to afforestation. Afforestation investments are the ‘engine room’ of capital appreciation within FSF, whilst also making a significant contribution to the twin fights against climate change and biodiversity loss. We are proud that FSF has now planted c.475,000 trees since its inception. The completion of planting at Mountmill Burn represents the second property that has reached planting completion and we have a further 19 afforestation properties still under development.”
Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company Plc (“the Company”) is an externally managed investment company investing in a diversified portfolio of UK forestry and afforestation assets. Targeting a net total return of more than CPI +5%, the Company provides investors with the opportunity for real returns and capital appreciation driven by the prevailing global imbalance between supply and demand for timber; the inflation-protection qualities of UK land freeholds; and biological tree growth of 3% to 4% not correlated to financial markets. It also offers outstanding sustainability and ESG attributes and access to carbon units related to carbon sequestration from new afforestation planting. The Company targets value creation as the afforestation projects successfully achieve development milestones in the process of converting open ground into established commercial forest and woodland areas. The Company is seeking to make a direct contribution in the fight against climate change through forestry and afforestation carbon sequestration initiatives and to preserve and proactively enhance natural capital and biodiversity across its portfolio. It is managed by Foresight Group LLP. https://fsfc.foresightgroup.eu/