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Gunns assets on sale for Christmas

The last assets of failed Tasmanian timber company Gunns including the proposed Bell Bay pulp mill and permits should be on the market by Christmas. Sources: The Examiner, Timberbiz

Gunns’ receivers KordaMentha confirmed that it planned selling off the $3 billion pulp mill site and permits at the same time that the plantation forests grown to feed the mill went up for sale.

Gunns’ Melbourne-based liquidators PPB Advisory told grower-investors that it intended starting the sale process of Gunns Plantations Ltd woodlot nominated schemes “shortly”.

The sale process was expected to take three to four months, according to PPB.

“In order to maximise value we will market the scheme assets concurrently with the complementary Gunns assets as this will provide access to a broader market and a deeper pool of buyers, ” PPB’s Daniel Bryant said.

A spokesman for KordaMentha said the receivers welcomed the long- awaited decision for the plantation timber to be sold.

“If possible and practical we will put up the pulp mill site and licence at the same time,” he said.

The spokesman said the best potential buyer for the proposed pulp mill and permits would be someone who wanted to secure the supply chain of tree plantations.

“You are selling trees at this stage not timber – they are immature trees so the buyer is not going to be an exporter, it will be someone who wants to secure the supply chain,” he said.

KordaMentha was not as confident as PPB Advisory that its part of the Gunns’ sale process would be done in three to four months.

“These things often go to expressions of interest and after that to indicative bids and then can go into a negotiated process which could take months,” he said.

PPB Advisory told growers that it had decided to sell off the woodlot schemes after the Victorian Supreme Court dismissed Macquarie-Western Australian Blue Gum’s application to re-open proceedings in order for it to become the responsible entity [or manager] of the Gunns’ woodlot schemes.

Former Gunns chairman John Gay was convicted recently of insider trading and fined $50,000. He pleaded guilty to a charge that he should have known the 2009 sale that netted around $3 million was illegal.