Addleshaw Goddard has acted as international funds and deal counsel to New Forests, a global investment manager of nature-based real assets and natural capital strategies headquartered in Sydney, on the launch of the African Forestry Impact Platform (AFIP) and AFIP's acquisition of Green Resources, East Africa’s largest forest development and wood processing company.
AFIP will raise long term, institutional capital to support Africa’s growing forestry sector, with the aim of raising US$500 million for the Platform in the first two to three years. AFIP will invest in a portfolio of plantation forestry operating companies and related assets in Sub-Saharan Africa, primarily targeting established assets that can be expected to provide stable and predictable cash flows across a diversified set of markets. European development finance institutions British International Investment (BII), Norfund and Finnfund, have signed subscription agreements for their investment in AFIP for US$200 million.
AFIP has been registered in Singapore as a Variable Capital Company (VCC) and is structured as a permanent capital vehicle managed by New Forests Asia (Singapore) Pte, Ltd. New Forests has had a presence in Nairobi since 2021, and in June that year appointed Paul Ohaga, Senior Director, Africa to lead the business.
AG acted as international funds counsel fielding a team led by private funds partner Jan Gruter and private funds legal director Jagdip Gujral. AG also acted as international deal counsel on the acquisition of AFIP's first investment with a deal team led by corporate partner and head of AG's Africa Business Group Chris Taylor with support from managing associate Victor Oderinde. AG closely collaborated with local counsel Shook Lin & Bok in Singapore and Norwegian law firm Haavind on the funds and deal structuring and execution.
The acquisition of Green Resources is subject to merger control approval (in Tanzania) and is expected to complete by December 2022. AG also acted as international competition law counsel with AG partner Rona Bar-Isaac supporting on the international competition law aspects of the acquisition.
Jagdip Gujral said: "AFIP is a key fund mandate for us at AG and we were pleased to contribute our international expertise to the launch of this bespoke Singapore permanent capital vehicle. To support and assist our client New Forests in this multi-jurisdictional launch of AFIP, a fund with an impact focus at its core across key areas, including climate mitigation, biodiversity conservation, gender and diversity, and community and livelihoods, is hugely gratifying."
David Brand, Chief Executive Officer, New Forests, said: “Africa has growing economies and rising timber demand but is also home to some of the world’s most biodiverse forests. New Forests’ new Africa platform will expand the plantation forest sector while seeking to also support forest conservation, restoration of degraded land and expansion of community-based forestry programs. As a permanent capital investment vehicle AFIP will help to create and perpetuate sustainable landscapes that can balance conservation and production systems.”