Flight Tim­bers now un­der Tim­ber­link um­brella

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

FLIGHT TIM­BERS’ New Zealand sawmilling as­sets have been sold to Tim­ber­link Aus­tralia. The agree­ment forms part of a larger trans­ac­tion by Flight Group, in­clud­ing the sale of its Flight Forests plan­ta­tion as­sets of ap­prox­i­mately 4,200 hectares of free­hold land and ra­di­ata pine soft­wood plan­ta­tions, lo­cated in the Marlborough re­gion of New Zealand’s South Is­land, to New Forests. New Forests is a Syd­ney-based fund man­ager with more than $A2.5 bil­lion in as­sets un­der man­age­ment in­clud­ing more than 620,000 hectares of forests, ru­ral land and con­ser­va­tion in­vest­ments in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion and the United States, on be­half of in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors.

The change in own­er­ship of Flight Tim­bers was ex­pected to take ef­fect on 1 Septem­ber 2015. Com­ple­tion of the pur­chase of Flight Forests was sub­ject to ap­proval by the Overseas In­vest­ment Of­fice.

Flight Group is a di­ver­si­fied man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness (www.flight. co.nz) with two key op­er­a­tional di­vi­sions, Flight Plas­tics Lim­ited and Flight Tim­bers. Flight owns a mill and tim­ber re­man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tion in Blen­heim, in the South Is­land of New Zealand. Flight Group has per­formed a strate­gic re­view of its op­er­a­tions, and fol­low­ing this tran­si­tion will fo­cus in­vest­ment on in its Plas­tics and Re­sort Con­tracts busi­nesses.

Tim­ber­link Aus­tralia, which was formed in Fe­bru­ary 2013 from the sale of Gunns Lim­ited’s soft­wood sawmilling as­sets in Aus­tralia as a re­sult of re­ceiver­ship, view the ac­qui­si­tion as a key step in their plans for fu­ture growth and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the Tim­ber­link busi­ness.

Tim­ber­link Aus­tralia/ NZ Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Ian Tyson, said: “Tim­ber­link has been on a jour­ney to en­sure our fu­ture com­pet­i­tive­ness and sus­tain­abil­ity as a soft­wood man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness in to­day’s global mar­ket. The Flight ac­qui­si­tion en­ables busi­ness di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in terms of mar­ket, cus­tomers and prod­ucts whilst lever­ag­ing from the com­pany’s cur­rent ca­pa­bil­ity and ex­pe­ri­ence with ra­di­ata pine sawmilling and sales in Aus­tralia.

“The cur­rent Flight sawmill as­sets are sound and pro­vide a strong base from which to im­prove and grow the busi­ness. Tim­ber­link plans to un­der­take sig­nif­i­cant busi­ness in­vest­ment, in­clud­ing ad­di­tional cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture in the or­der of NZ$10m over the com­ing two to three years. This will strongly po­si­tion the busi­ness for an ex­cit­ing and suc­cess­ful fu­ture.”

The sale an­nounce­ment was good news for all in­volved. Both par­ties (Flight and Tim­ber­link) are pleased that the change in own­er­ship in­cludes the on­go­ing em­ploy­ment of all Flight Tim­bers em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors, based at the Blen­heim mill.

The new en­tity will op­er­ate as Tim­ber­link New Zealand, a sub­sidiary of Tim­ber­link Aus­tralia, and the site’s cur­rent man­age­ment team will re­main in place. Romon Spiers will con­tinue to be the site Gen­eral Man­ager, re­port­ing to Tim­ber­link’s CEO, Ian Tyson.

The Flight brand will con­tinue to be used for up to 12 months of op­er­a­tion. Dur­ing this pe­riod the com­pany will be de­vel­op­ing plans to re­brand as Tim­ber­link New Zealand, along with any other as­so­ci­ated prod­uct brands if re­quired. Mr Spiers said: “We be­lieve that the busi­ness value that can be created through Flight Tim­bers and Tim­ber­link Aus­tralia com­ing to­gether will form a more com­pelling and even stronger of­fer to serve all cur­rent cus­tomers in the tar­get mar­kets and also help the new im­proved busi­ness to achieve its growth plans for the fu­ture. Key to this will be main­tain­ing and grow­ing the Tim­ber­link busi­ness in all of its mar­kets – New Zealand, Aus­tralia, Japan and South East Asia.”

David Brand, CEO of New Forests, said that, “New Forests has demon­strated that the model of align­ing the plan­ta­tion re­source with the pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity re­duces risk and will steadily cre­ate value. The agree­ment to ac­quire Flight Forests and Tim­bers by New Forests and Tim­ber­link re­spec­tively gives stake­hold­ers an op­por­tu­nity to gain ex­po­sure to a ma­ture, well-man­aged plan­ta­tion es­tate with ac­cess to do­mes­tic pro­cess­ing plant man­aged by Tim­ber­link.”

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