GreenWood Resources sells majority stake to TIAA-CREF

GreenWood Resources, which owns and manages a high-yield poplar farm in Oregon among its global assets, will become a subsidiary of TIAA-CREF in a deal announced Thursday.

GreenWood Resources, which owns and manages a high-yield poplar farm in Oregon among its global assets, will become a subsidiary of TIAA-CREF in a deal announced Thursday. 

Financial services giant TIAA-CREF has purchased a controlling majority stake in GreenWood Resources Inc.

Portland-based GreenWood will become a subsidiary of TIAA but will continue to operate independently. The timberland investment company has a global team of 80 people with operations in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

GreenWood, which manages $350 million in assets, specializes in quick-growing tree farms, such as the poplar plantation near Boardman.

The amount of the transaction was not disclosed, but the addition of GreenWood Resources brings TIAA's timber investment portfolio to approximately $1.8 billion, with investments covering 840,000 acres around the world. In all, the company has $481 billion in assets under management.

"This is significant, we're not buying trees, we're buying a company," said Jose Minaya, managing director and head of global natural resources and infrastructure investments at TIAA.

"We like GreenWood with the way it is today," he said. "Their views of how they do business and their focus on sustainability melds with how we want to grow our existing portfolios."

Jeff Nuss, president and CEO of GreenWood, said that GreenWood had been looking for a strategic partner and TIAA proved to be the best fit.

Going forward, Nuss said, he plans to "run our business the way we've always run it."

GreenWood will continue to pursue opportunities for growth, Nuss said.

Dave Chen, principal at Equilibrium Capital, calls GreenWood one of the "hidden giants" in Oregon's sustainable economy.

"We have very, very real leaders here," Chen said.

Like Forest Capital Partners, which last month sold its sustainably managed timberland portfolio to Hancock Timber Resources Group in a blockbuster deal, GreenWood is focused on innovation in natural resources, something that, along with agriculture, is becoming increasingly interesting to investors.

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