10/12/2009 - 11:51

Pulpwood withdraws Great Southern bid

10/12/2009 - 11:51

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The Pulpwood Plantations proposal to take over Great Southern timber schemes was withdrawn today before the official vote was to take place, as attention now turns towards rival bidder Gunns.

Pulpwood withdraws Great Southern bid

The Pulpwood Plantations proposal to take over Great Southern timber schemes was withdrawn today before the official vote was to take place, as attention now turns towards rival bidder Gunns.

The withdrawal followed an announcement by Pulpwood head Gordon Martin on Tuesday that warned investors against travelling to the meeting because proxy support indicated the bid would not be successful.

No more than 25 people attended the meeting held at a hotel in Perth city this morning. Roughly six of those were investors, while a collection of representatives from Great Southern receiver McGrathNicol, administrator Ferrier Hodgson and a Gunns representative were present.

Mr Martin, a Western Australian industrialist, and Pulpwood business partner, former soccer club owner and fast food magnate Nick Tana, were also present.

The fall of Pulpwood leaves one active bid in the market, with Gunns putting its proposal before investors on December 23 in Sydney. Gunns can rely on McGrathNicol voting its stake - of up to 27 per cent in some of the timber schemes - after it was nominated as the receiver's preferred bidder.

Proposals need 50 per cent worth of votes to take over the timber schemes and a show of support at the meeting.

A third bidder, the Tony Jack-led Black Tree, must rely on a failed Gunns proposal for it to stay in proceedings.

Black Tree is now attempting to get the support together and paperwork in order to call a meeting for early next year.

Researcher, consultant and investment adviser Australian Agribusiness Group noted in a research report that it was up to investors to choose which bid was in their best interests.

"In our view, it is up to investor growers to decide what is in their best own best interests, and not for the receiver to direct or take sides," AAG said.

The Gunns proposal includes a change of constitution that would lower the hurdle for the responsible entity to make changes to the schemes in the future.

Great Southern operated 45 forestry, horticulture and cattle managed investment schemes on behalf of 43,000 investors, however the bulk of money, investors and public interest, is in the flagship timber schemes.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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