13/10/2009 - 15:01

Martin broadens Great Southern bid

13/10/2009 - 15:01

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The Gordon Martin-backed Pulpwood Plantations is extending its bid for Great Southern timber schemes to include all but one of the flagship plantations.

Martin broadens Great Southern bid

The Gordon Martin-backed Pulpwood Plantations is extending its bid for Great Southern timber schemes to include all but one of the flagship plantations.

A letter has been sent to affected investors flagging the new proposal, which is expected to be detailed in the next two to three weeks.

The letter has been sent days before the details of two rival bids - lodged by Gunns, and by Azure Capital and Bunning family-linked Black Tree Proprietary - are expected to be made public by receiver McGrathNicol.

Mr Martin told WA Business News the move by receiver McGrathNicol to discontinue paying third-party land-owners at the end of last month complicated matters, but that there was still potential for a positive outcome for investors.

Mr Martin, the chairman of Coogee Chemicals, is largely bankrolling the $10 to $20 million Pulpwood bid.

Investors with timber assets situated on third party property look to have effectively lost control over their assets, after leases weren't paid, resulting in the threat of having the agribusiness assets turned over to the land-owners.

The receiver appeared to secure week-to-week emergency funding - financed by a bank consortium - which was directed towards the assets with greater commercial value, and away from schemes located on third-party leases.

About 3000, or one-third of investors in Great Southern Plantations 2005 timber scheme and about 1500 investors in the equivalent 2006 scheme are understood to be in that situation.

Mr Martin said it was difficult to comment on the 2008 plantation, which is the only flagship timber scheme not part of the Pulpwood proposal, because some of the trees were never planted.

"We are separately considering what we can do for the investors in the 2008 scheme given the actions already announced by the receiver," the letter said.

A large number of Great Southern's horticultural schemes are being wound up, however there is at least one bid for its olive assets - led by Mark Kailis - that involves developing the scheme as opposed to winding it up.

Pulpwood is moving back its date for investors to vote on the proposal to November, because Mr Martin says it's necessary to give growers time to compare rival bids, and vote on the additional schemes not included in the previous proposal.

The bids from Black Tree and Gunns are expected to be made public as early as next week, coupled with some guidance from the receiver.

 

 

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