07/11/2013 - 12:59

Great Southern assets under offer

07/11/2013 - 12:59

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The liquidators of timber plantation assets formerly owned by collapsed managed investment scheme Great Southern may have found a buyer for the assets, with an investment trust managed by Sydney-based company New Forests agreeing to purchase the plantations.

Great Southern assets under offer

The liquidators of timber plantation assets formerly owned by collapsed managed investment scheme Great Southern may have found a buyer for the assets, with an investment trust managed by Sydney-based company New Forests agreeing to purchase the plantations.

The Forestry Investment Trust, an Australian-based fund managed by New Forests, has signed an agreement to purchase assets related to the Great Southern Plantations Schemes 1998 to 2006, consisting of about 80,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantations across six states.

PPB Advisory, which has been tasked with winding-up the responsible entity for the schemes, has applied to the Supreme Court of Victoria to approve the sale.

The New Forests-managed Australia New Zealand Forest Fund, together with Alberta Investment Management Corporation, acquired the underlying Great Southern Plantations land for $415 million out of receivership in 2011.

"The consolidation of trees and land management under institutional ownership would be very positive for the forestry industry, and would let us focus on market development, management improvements and international competitiveness," New Forests managing director David Brand said.

"It has taken nearly four years to resolve the restructuring of the MIS land and plantations. During that time the high dollar has impacted Australia's competitiveness as a hardwood timber exporter, creating uncertainty that has been a source of concern in many rural communities. Our goal now is to build a sustainable forestry business, create jobs and, where forestry is not viable in the long term, return the land to agriculture."

Great Southern fell into administration in 2009, owing hundreds of millions of dollars to investors.

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