Mercury (Hobart)

Pulp mill bid­ders yet to be re­vealed

- NICK CLARK

AL­MOST seven weeks af­ter bids closed, re­ceivers have yet to iden­tify a pre­ferred bid­der for the Bell Bay pulp mill site and the State and Com­mon­wealth gov­ern­ment per­mits for the for­mer Gunns pulp mill.

Kor­daMen­tha has at least one bid for 550ha of land at Bell Bay and also has at least one bid from a sep­a­rate party for a pack­age of the land and the pulp mill per­mits.

Fi­nals bids were lodged with ad­vis­ers Moelis and com­pany on May 30.

Kor­daMen­tha spokesman Michael Smith said it was ag­nos­tic about whether a pulp mill went ahead but was charged with find­ing the best out­come for se­cured cred­i­tors — whether it be land alone or land and per­mits.

It is un­der­stood there were no Aus­tralian bids for the pulp mill per­mits which cost Gunns about $220 mil­lion to ob­tain.

“Once a pre­ferred bid­der is iden­ti­fied it will not take long for a con­tract of sale to be fi­nalised,” Mr Smith said.

Much of the feed­stock for a pulp mill is con­trolled by tim­ber­land in­vest­ment com­pany New Forests, which has pre­vi­ously ex­pressed a de­sire to re­main fo­cused on ex­port­ing wood­chips to mar­kets China, Ja­pan and In­dia.

New Forests has a sub­sidiary called Forico which has spent $10 mil­lion on a wood­chip mill near Hamp­shire and di­rectly and in­di­rectly em­ploys about 150 peo­ple.

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