Frankfurt am Main, 22 April 2020 - Global real estate services provider Colliers International introduced its new Agriculture & Forestry asset class in early April. The division is led by Eckbrecht von Grone (55) and Nils von Schmidt (43). Wolf von Werthern FRICS (55) will serve as exclusive advisor.
Matthias Leube, CEO of Colliers International Deutschland, comments, “Agriculture and forestry are key economic sectors in Germany that continue to gain importance in terms of ecological and environmental development. Forests, for example, have a variety of protective, productive and recreational uses. They produce wood, an important raw material used in construction, and play a key role in safeguarding our livelihood. Forests are also one of the ecosystems with the highest biodiversity. Agriculture is also an essential economic sector in terms of securing our food supply. This has become particularly evident in times of Covid-19. 12% of Germany’s agricultural holdings have switched to organic farming methods, with the number up to 31,700 between 2017 and 2018, which reflects an increase of 7.9%. We fully support this trend.”
From a global perspective, Colliers International is already the leading agriculture and forestry real estate service provider in a number of countries, including Canada, New Zealand and Australia. According to Matthias Leube, “Introducing this asset class makes us the first German advisory firm to offer this service and expertise not only in Europe but also worldwide.”
Eckbrecht von Grone holds a degree in agriculture and forestry as well as business administration (Diplom-Kaufmann). He also owns an agricultural and forestry enterprise with plots in eastern and western Germany. Together with Wolf von Werthern, he founded the Grone & Werthern real estate firm in 2016, which specializes in agriculture and forestry assets and will now handle all such activities at Colliers International.
Nils von Schmidt holds a degree in forestry economics and has 15 years’ experience managing international and sustainable forestry investments for institutional investors at companies such as International Woodland Company, Copenhagen, and Aquila Capital, Hamburg. His areas of expertise include managing, buying and selling woodland in Europe, North and South America, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. Nils von Schmidt advises forestry companies in Germany, Scotland, Finland, Brazil and New Zealand in strategic, operative and business matters.
Felix von Saucken, Head of Residential Investment at Colliers International, under which the Agriculture & Forestry division falls, comments, “We are confident that the Agriculture & Forestry asset class will become increasingly important over the medium term, especially for investors outside the sector who are looking to diversify their portfolio. Eckbrecht von Grone and Nils von Schmidt possess extensive experience in this field and have what it takes to achieve rapid, stable growth.”
Nils von Grone comments, “Thanks to Colliers International’s excellent international network of buyers and sellers as well as our own contacts, we will not only be able to offer agency services in Germany but also provide access to assets worldwide that are in line with investor risk and yield expectations.” Nils von Grone continues, “Similar to the services that Colliers International provides in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, we will be offering advisory services around a number of areas including operative optimization and CO2 storage capacity. We will also ensure fiduciary and transparent asset management of the agricultural and forestry businesses involved, which will particularly benefit investors that are new to this asset class.”