27/02/2020 - 15:08

Mitsui sells WA plantations

27/02/2020 - 15:08

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Western Australia's largest timber plantation owner, investment group New Forests, has expanded its holdings by purchasing 12,000 hectares of bluegums from Bunbury Fibre Plantations, a subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsui & Co.

Bunbury Fibre Exports will continue to process and export woodchips from the plantations.

Western Australia's largest timber plantation owner, investment group New Forests, has expanded its holdings by purchasing 12,000 hectares of bluegums from Bunbury Fibre Plantations, a subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsui & Co.

As part of the purchase, New Forests has signed a long-term supply agreement with another Mitsui subsidiary, Bunbury Fibre Exports.

Through this agreement, it is anticipated Bunbury Fibre Exports will continue to process and export woodchips from the plantations.

The purchase adds to New Forests existing holdings in WA, with the group believed to hold approximately 55,000ha around Albany.

Another institutional investor, Global Forest Partners, through local arm Australian Bluegum Plantations, is believed to have about 35,000ha.

The two institutions bought most of their plantations from failed MIS scheme operators such as Great Southern and Timbercorp.

Other big players include Japanese companies - Marubeni subsidiary WA Plantation Resources operates out of Bunbury while Oji Holdings is a major shareholder in Albany Plantation Forest Company and Albany Plantation Export Company.

Across the state as a whole, WA has an estimated 160,000ha of bluegum plantations, according to industry sources.

These plantations support annual woodchip exports of 2.8 million tonnes.

Bunbury is the biggest export port (1.34mt) followed by Albany (1.15mt) and Esperance (286,000t) according to the latest data published by the respective port authorities.

At Bunbury, WA Plantation Resources exports about one million tonnes per year with Bunbury Fibre Exports accounting for the balance.

New Forests’ managing director for Australia-New Zealand Mark Rogers said the group was proud to continue its proven track record of long-term investment in the forest industry.

“We look forward to making further investments and partnerships in regional Australia,” he said in a statement.

“As a locally based investor, and one of the largest in Australia, New Forests will continue investing in the long-term, sustainable management of Australia’s plantations and rural land sector.”

New Forests has invested $5.6 billion in a global portfolio of nearly 1 million hectares of forestry and conservation investments.

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