Interest in sustainable plantations and renewable resources has been increasing in all countries across the world. Merensky Timber (Pty) Limited is the third largest private plantation owner in Africa with a base of 65,000 hectares of pine and eucalyptus plantations and associated manufacturing facilities in South Africa. It is recognised, world-wide, as a pioneer of high-value Eucalyptus logs and lumber, with a history of tree breeding and genetic improvements over more than half a century and it supplies a range of Forestry Stewardship Council -certified forest products to meet the demand of African and global markets.
Merensky Timber was approached by investors interested in acquiring a shareholding, and after careful consideration and investigation we can now announce that we will be welcoming a new minority shareholder Criterion Africa Forestry II (CAF), a joint venture between African Forestry Fund II and the Dutch Development Bank, FMO. CAF is advised and managed by Criterion African Partners (CAP).
The investment by CAFII unlocks the unbundling of Merensky Timber from Hans Merensky Holdings, and together this allows for a total equity package of up to R1.1 billion into Merensky Timber. The transaction is expected to be transformative for Merensky Timber as it will allow it to take on a range of growth and investment opportunities in forestry, biomass energy, downstream processing, and nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change.
The new investment is fully aligned with the purpose, values, and strategy of Merensky Timber. It will support the role that forests play in the natural environment, enhance development impact in rural communities, and enable inclusive growth opportunities. This is an exciting milestone, building on the proud and resilient history of Merensky Timber, dating back to 1929 when Dr Hans Merensky purchased the Westfalia farm and started to experiment with Eucalyptus plantations and high-value Eucalyptus timber. The Merensky Timber board will be restructured to include director nominations from the new investors and the shareholders of Hans Merensky Holdings, with the CEO, Dr Johan de Graaf, and CFO, Ms. Bronwyn Noble, serving as executive directors. We thank all the employees and stakeholders for your support over the years and look forward to continuing to DO GOOD with the help of all our stakeholders and our new partners.
Criterion Africa Partners is an independently owned private equity firm investing across the forestry value chain in sub-Saharan Africa since 2010. The firm advises two funds with assets of US$275 million from institutional investors including prominent European Developmental Finance Institutions and Multilateral Development Banks.
FMO is the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development and has a 50+ year proven track-record in empowering entrepreneurs to make local economies more inclusive, productive, resilient, and sustainable. FMO focuses on four sectors that have high development impact: Agribusiness, Food & Water, Energy, and Financial Institutions. With a total committed portfolio of EUR ~13 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector development banks globally.
FMO has implemented an Independent Complaints Mechanism (ICM) which allows external parties to file a complaint concerning projects financed by FMO – Click Here