NZIF 2018

New Zealand Logger - - Contents -

The an­nual get to­gether of the New Zealand In­sti­tute of Foresters moved to Nel­son this year and saw a num­ber of is­sues dis­cussed at its con­fer­ence, along with awards pre­sented to lead­ing lights of the in­dus­try and its younger mem­bers.

THE NEW OWNER OF NEL­SON FORESTS broke cover at the NZIF an­nual con­fer­ence last month.

It’s been un­usual for foreign buy­ers of lo­cal forestry busi­nesses to make pub­lic ap­pear­ances in the past, but Aus­tralian-based OneFortyOne Plan­ta­tions cast that tra­di­tion aside to tell its story to mem­bers of the In­sti­tute when they con­vened in Nel­son…….. es­pe­cially as for­mal ap­proval has yet to be given by the Over­seas In­vest­ment Of­fice for the pur­chase.

The good news is that the head of OneFortyOne Plan­ta­tions is a New Zealan­der and the com­pany has plans to grow the newly ac­quired Nel­son For­est busi­ness, not bleed it or break it up.

Auck­land Uni­ver­sity-ed­u­cated Linda Sewell is a for­mer CHH ex­ec­u­tive who also worked for HVP Plan­ta­tions (Han­cock) in Aus­tralia be­fore be­ing shoul­der-tapped five years ago to be­come CEO of a For­est in­vest­ment com­pany with­out any forests.

In a pre­sen­ta­tion to the NZIF, she says the busi­ness has gone from just hav­ing one em­ployee (her­self) to now em­ploy­ing more than 600, with ma­jor for­est and mill in­vest­ments on both sides of the Tas­man.

OneFortyOne’s backer, US-owned Camp­bell Global, was the suc­cess­ful bid­der for the Forestry South Aus­tralia 100-year har­vest­ing rights over 80,000ha that were sold by the state gov­ern­ment in 2012, which led to a huge out­cry from both the pub­lic and many of those who worked in the Golden Tri­an­gle, cen­tred at Mt Gam­bier.

The out­cry died down when the com­pany fo­cused on sup­ply­ing the do­mes­tic mar­ket, rather than ex­ports, and won over the lo­cals. This was fur­ther ce­mented when it also ended up pur­chas­ing the largest mill in the re­gion from CHH, the Jubilee Mill in Mt Gam­bier, even though it meant shelv­ing plans to build a par­ti­cle board mill to use the mount­ing waste and pulp logs (that’s still an is­sue to be solved).

Within a year, Nel­son Forests was put on the mar­ket, which in­cludes the Kaituna sawmill in ad­di­tion to its 78,000 hectare es­tate, and OneFortyOne was the suc­cess­ful pur­chaser again.

“It was an ex­tra­or­di­nary year,” says Ms Sewell. “We ended up with a mirror im­age of what we had in Mt Gam­bier and be­com­ing one of the largest in­te­grated forestry busi­nesses in Aus­trala­sia, pro­duc­ing one mil­lion tonnes a year.”

While it is still early days, Ms Sewell says the own­ers of OneFortyOne in­tend to grow the busi­ness, plug­ging any gaps and in­te­grat­ing the as­sets to make them work more ef­fi­ciently. But that’s a story for another day.

Where did the OneFortyOne name come from? It’s the lon­gi­tude of Mt Gam­bier.

NZL

OneFortyOne CEO, Linda Sewell

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