Sale of Gunns portfolio attracts global interest

Global interest is being fielded for former parts of the greater Gunn's estate - the AFPT and AFPT 2 timberland portfolios, which have been put on the market.

Global interest is being fielded for former parts of the greater Gunn's estate - the AFPT and AFPT 2 timberland portfolios, which have been put on the market.

Prospective buyers range from Australian pension funds to high net worth individual investors and overseas pension funds.

A price tag of about $50 million was suggested for the 94 forestry products in the portfolio.

The Tasmanian assets are being sold by CBRE Agribusiness on behalf of Peter Anderson and Shaun Fraser of McGrathNicol as "Joint and Several" receivers and managers of the Australian Forestry Plantations Trust (AFPT) and the Australian Forestry Plantations Trust No. 2 (AFPT 2).

Gunns, based in Tasmania, was placed into voluntary administration in September last year after the ANZ-backed syndicate withdrew support for the forestry group's recapitalisation. This also included the group's long-running attempt to obtain approvals to develop a timber pulp mill at Bell Bay, estimated to cost $2.3 billion.

The agent, David Smith, CBRE's head of timberland transactions, said the sale campaign had already generated wide-ranging preliminary interest.

Mr Smith said two portfolios were being offered for sale in one line or separately. They comprise 94 properties with a total of about 11,757 hectares of hardwood plantation across a total land title area of 21,777 hectares.

In addition to the timberland assets, the portfolios include 17 residential houses as well as significant existing infrastructure in the form of an extensive network of internal and external roads.

"We have already fielded inquiries from domestic pension funds and institutions, local farmers, high net worth investors, offshore institutions and even an international pulp mill owner interested in future fibre security," Mr Smith said. "The portfolio has generated interest from a biomass perspective, from parties looking at the potential future supply for production of biofuels, as well as from prospective purchasers considering the managed conversion of the land back to various forms of agriculture."

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