ZF English

US Harvard university, biggest forest owner in Romania

Autor: Ioana David

27.04.2011, 23:58 678

An investment fund (Phemus Corporation) registered at the sameaddress as Harvard Management Company, an entity part of theprestigious US university Harvard that manages 27bn dollars' worthof assets, is the majority shareholder in the biggest forest ownerin Romania, Scolopax SRL of Focşani.

Scolopax leads in the ranking of the largest forest owners inRomania as of April 1, 2010, besides the state that manages throughRomsilva, according to the data sent by the Environment Ministry atZF's request.

Sven Rutgersson, the CEO of Scolopax, confirmed that a HarvardUniversity fund is behind Phemus Corporation, without specifyingits name.

"We own around 35,000 hectares of forest and 2,000 hectares offarming land," Rutgersson added. He also specified that purchasesstarted in 2005 and are likely to continue "depending on Romania'sdevelopment".

The average price per hectare stands at 3,000 euros, so that the35,000 held hectares could be valued at over 100m euros.

The market held information about Americans' interest in buyingforests in Romania as far back as 2009, the year when foreignerswere the most dynamic, but at that time there were no official dataconnecting an entity in Romania to the US university.

According to the Trade Registry data, Scolopax is 99.99% held byPhemus Corporation, a company registered in Boston, Massachusetts,at the same address as Harvard Management Company (HMC). The nameof Ernst Jonas Einar Jakobsson, of Swedish origin, is alsomentioned as a shareholder owning a tiny stake.

Romania's forestry fund stands at 6.5 million hectares, with thestate's public property standing at 3.3 million hectares, managedby Romsilva. Romsilva also manages over 1 million hectares ofprivate property.