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New Forests to purchase Bell Bay and Tarpeena Sawmills from receivership

New Forests is to purchase Gunns’ sawmilling, sales and distribution business from the receiver, KordaMentha.

New Forests will acquire all the assets of Gunns Timber Products (GTP), including the Bell Bay and Tarpeena sawmills. The transaction is anticipated to complete in late January 2013.

Mark Korda and Bryan Webster, receivers of Gunns and its wholly owned subsidiaries, have signed a sale and purchase deed with New Forests to sell the timber business as a going concern. The sale price is confidential.

GTP is a national timber products business consisting of two saw mills at Bell Bay in Tasmania and Tarpeena in South Australia and a national sales and distribution network with warehouses in Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne.

The contract provides for continued employment and entitlements for approximately 380 staff.

“Over the coming weeks, we will be working closely with KordaMentha and Gunns Timber Products staff to ensure a smooth ownership transition,” says David Brand, managing director of New Forests. “The Bell Bay and Tarpeena sawmills are key elements of Australia’s regional forest industries. Over the past year we have acquired softwood plantations in Tasmania and in the Green Triangle which provide the core wood supply to each mill. We can now aim to create value by integrating management of the forests with the mills and with the sales and distribution functions. This should allow us to be a competitive and high-quality timber supplier even in the current difficult market conditions.”

Korda says: “This is an outstanding outcome for the employees and the local communities of Bell Bay and Tarpeena.  The business will be in the hands of experienced forestry managers with a long-term interest in the Australian timber industry.”

New Forests now manages over 375,000 hectares of forestland and timber plantations across Australia on behalf of institutional investors, primarily superannuation funds, pension funds, and insurance companies.

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