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Alternative investments

NPS gains timberland, Europe tech exposure in Q1

Apax Partners, Stafford Capital Partners added as NPS' outside managers

By Jun 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

(Getty Images Bank)
(Getty Images Bank)

The National Pension Service has gained exposure to timberland and the European mid-market tech sector in the first quarter of this year, adding two British investment firms -- Apax Partners and Stafford Capital Partners -- as its new outside managers, according to its recent public disclosure.

The South Korean pension scheme is believed to have committed between $200 million and $300 million to Apax Partners' 10th flagship fund that raised $11 billion at the final close.

The UK private equity firm specializes in mid-market technology companies. Since its foundation in 1969 as a venture capital firm, Apax has expanded into the realm of buyout and growth-stage investments.

In February of this year, the NPS has committed $150 million to London-based Stafford Capital Partners in its first investment in timberland, land available for timber or farm production. That is part of the pension fund's sustainable investing given the demand for afforestation and the increased use of timber as an eco-friendly construction material.

During the first three months of the year, the world's third-largest pension fund has made new alternatives investments worth 3 trillion won ($2.7 billion) to a total of 93.9 trillion won as of the end of March, compared with 90.7 trillion won at the end of last year.

Last March, it acquired a stake in UK private equity firm BC Partners through a Blackstone fund and committed $500 million to Blackstone's new life science real estate fund, marking its first investment in a vehicle targeting life science properties. 

For the entire year of 2021, the NPS earmarked 17.8 trillion won for new alternative investments, according to its 2021 allocation plan.
Last year, the $775 billion pension scheme ramped up private equity investments involving high-growth internet and software companies by adding US-based technology-focused Silver Lake Partners and Thoma Bravo to the pool of its outside managers. It also ventured into medium-risk, medium-return assets such as private debt. 

Write to Jung-hwan Hwang at

Yeonhee Kim edited this article

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