OFO to acquire Nelson Forests in NZ
The and rise of fledgling forestry company OneFortyOne Plantations continues with news that it has just signed an agreement to acquire one of New Zealand’s leading forestry businesses, Nelson Forests.
“Nelson Forests is recognised as being one of New Zealand’s best run forestry businesses and an established leader in safe and sustainable forest management,” said Linda Sewell, OneFortyOne Plantation’s Chief Executive Officer.
“This acquisition reflects OFO’s intention to grow its business through investment in well managed forestry operations that have a focus on sustainable domestic processing and strong community partnerships.
“Located within New Zealand’s second largest domestic processing region, the acquisition of Nelson Forests is consistent with our growth strategy and highly complementary to our existing Australian operations,” Ms Sewell said.
Nelson Forests is currently 100% owned by investment funds advised by Global Forest Partners LP, a USbased timberland investment management organisation.
The acquisition will allow for the exchange of best practice forestry management between the Australian and New Zealand operations. Following the acquisition of Nelson rise Forests, OFO intends to pursue options to increase the scale of both the forest and domestic processing activities in the Nelson region.
“The Nelson Forests lead team will continue to manage the plantation. We look forward to welcoming the team into the OFO family and working collaboratively with them to leverage best practice across both regions,” Ms Sewell said.
“With a strong commitment to workplace safety, environmental management and innovation, the approach of the Nelson Forests management team is recognised as best in class in safety and environmental management within the New Zealand industry.
“This commitment to truly sustainable forestry and domestic processing is clearly aligned to the values we have built in our existing operations in Australia,” Ms Sewell said.
Since commencing custodianship of an 80,000-hectare plantation within the Green Triangle region of South Australia in 2012, OFO has grown domestic fibre supply to local processors by more than 45% and increased the number of trees planted. It has also invested extensively to support a strong, vibrant local industry and community.
“We recognise that we have a significant role to play within the regions in which we operate. Like the Nelson Forests team, OFO works in close partnership with regional stakeholders and supports a range of local environmental, community and education initiatives,” Ms Sewell said.
“Nelson Forests is already a strong contributor to the Nelson/Tasman and Marlborough communities. I am pleased with OFO’s commitment to support Nelson Forests continuing to make these contributions and for the further benefits that OFO can provide to the region. OFO has an excellent track record of supporting domestic processing and making substantial investments to grow its business and to support the community,” said Lees Seymour, Managing Director of Nelson Forests.
“The values of the Nelson Forests business and our existing business are strongly aligned, and we will work hard to ensure this continues and grows further following successful completion of the acquisition,” Ms Sewell said.
Completion of the transaction is expected to occur during 2018, subject to approval from New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office (OIO). Campbell Global, Gresham Partners and MinterEllisonRuddWatts were advisory partners to OFO on the transaction.
Leading the way
OFO, owned by Australian and international superannuation or pension funds and governed by an independent Board, acquired the harvesting rights of the Green Triangle plantation estate from the Government of South Australia in October 2012.
In the South East of South Australia, OFO has led the establishment of the Association of Green Triangle Growers, bringing together six major growers in the region to develop new processing capacity, that will drive investment and employment growth and build a sustainable local processing industry.
Also on the acquisition front, OFO is currently awaiting ACCC approval for the purchase of the Jubilee Highway sawmill in Mount Gambier. Some months back OFO signed a Sale Agreement with Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) for the purchase of the Jubilee Highway mill and the woodchip operations at Portland.
Incidentally, the company name takes its origins from the one forty one meridian east line that approximates South Australia’s eastern border with Victoria.
■ Linda Sewell.