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by Ainslie Chandler

Oct 29, 2015

Real assets investor SLM Partners LLP is trying to raise 50 million euros ($55.2 million) to invest in Irish forestry assets.

The firm plans to transform clearfell plantations into more sustainable forests by introducing native broadleaf species, according to Paul McMahon, the fund’s co-founder and managing partner. By increasing the diversity of species, the diversity of wildlife in the area will also improve, McMahon said.

The European Investment Bank is considering a 13 million euro investing in the new fund, according to a document on its website.

SLM hopes to hold a first close for that fund in the first quarter of 2016, McMahon said.

The London, New York and Queensland, Australia-based SLM’s overall goal for its investments is to improve the sustainability of agriculture and forestry land, capitalizing on the trend toward stronger global environmental regulation and more consumer awareness about sustainability and food production, he said.

SLM’s first fund, the SLM Australia Livestock Fund, is investing in degraded land for beef and cattle with the aim of improving sustainability and production of those assets with better management.

A first close was held for that fund in 2012 with 75 million Australian dollars ($54 million) in equity commitments, and the fund has arranged a 34 million Australian dollar debt facility, McMahon said. A final close is expected by the end of the year.

SLM is also planning to invest in a $100 million sheep production opportunity in Chile, McMahon said, using a similar strategy to that of the Australian fund. That investment will likely be made outside the fund, he said.

Before forming SLM with Tony Lovell in 2009, McMahon was vice-president at London-based Climate Change Capital Ltd. He also worked at McKinsey & Co.

— Ainslie Chandler, Bloomberg Brief