AXA RE invests in three Finnish forests

The real estate division of French insurance giant AXA marked the start of its aim to grow its forestry portfolio by acquiring a large swathe of forest land in Finland.

Paris-based AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, the real estate division of insurance company AXA, has acquired three forest estates in Finland, covering an area of 3,700 hectares, as it looks to grow a forestry portfolio.

The €11.2 million investment, AXA Real Estate’s first forest acquisition outside of France, marks the beginning of its strategy to diversify its portfolio and the start of an increased focus on forestry, according to the firm.

“As a sector, forestry is underpinned by robust economic fundamentals and, through being one of the first movers in to this sector within Europe, AXA Real Estate is in a prime position to capitalize on the strong market sentiment and attractive returns,” Christophe Lebrun, head of forest investment at AXA Real Estate, commented. “Furthermore, as a real asset, forestry is a safe haven investment and such stability gives it resilience to crisis.”

As part of its ‘alternatives’ investment strategy, AXA Real Estate intends to grow its forestry portfolio by targeting investments primarily in Western Europe and the Nordics. On the deal AXA Real Estate teamed up with Helsinki-based forestry company UPM, which will provide forest management and timber harvesting services to ensure sustainable management of the three forests.

The acquisition brings AXA Real Estate’s total forestry assets under management to approximately €100 million, comprising over 17,600 hectares in total.