The firm has raised a $140 million closed fund to invest in Latin America. Of this, $80 million has been invested in Uruguay and the remainder will be put to work in Brazil. Daniel plans to launch a second fund late this year or early next year, which might also tap into Chile and Argentina. The firm is targeting European and U.S. institutional investors and clients include the Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund.
RMK Timberland started with Uruguay because it is politically stable, with a high literacy rate and low crime rate. Most of the trees are planted on pastureland, so growing trees is reforestation rather than interfering with a natural forest.
Daniel wants to close on an investment in Brazil in the next three to six months. There are significant opportunities because the land mass is so huge. Chile's forestry industry is mature and efficient, so it's harder to find good opportunities. Daniel is concerned about political risk in Argentina.
RMK Timberland will probably seek a joint venture in South Africa, which has a well-established forestry industry and market. Daniel doesn't expect to make a move until next summer.