Forest Enterprises winner to be announced in May

The winner of the auction for 97,900 hectares of freehold land, just under half made up of hardwood timber plantations, is expected to be announced by the end of this month.

A decision on the winner of the auction of the 46,200 hectares of hardwood timber plantations that are part of bankrupt timber company Forest Enterprises Australia is expected to be made by the end of this month following a review of final bids by Deloitte and Gresham, Data Room reporting has discovered.    

Receiver Deloitte and investment bank Gresham are managing the sale of the estates of Forest Enterprises that comprise 97,900 hectares of freehold land in total. The auction has attracted bidders from outside Australia as well as domestic companies although the identity of the final bidders has not been publicly disclosed.

Forest Enterprises was placed in administration and receivership in April 2010 owing $215 million in debt, according to Sydney-based timber investment firm New Forests, which agreed last month to pay $330m for bankrupt Tasmanian company Gunns’ plantations.

Forest Enterprises’ properties are in Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

In a statement last year, Deloitte said the 46,200 hectares of hardwood plantations have a weighted-average age of eight years. A significant amount of mature trees offer immediate cash flow, and the estate properties are close to infrastructure and export facilities, the receiver said.

Initial bids were due in February and Deloitte said it would consider selling Forest Enterprises’ freehold land, including its hardwood plantations, in one parcel, or it may conduct separate sales of smaller parcels of plantations or land.

Gresham, among the top 10 merger and acquisition advisers in Australia this year, has previously advised on Campbell Group’s $670m acquisition of the South Australian government’s forestry plantations and the $415m sale of the Great Southern forestry estate on behalf of its receivers and banking group.

(Reporting by Brett.Cole@businessspectator.com.au)

(Editing by miranda.maxwell@businessspectator.com.au)

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