FOR­EST TALK

Pur­chase of the Tas­man mill near Kaw­erau has saved 160 jobs.

New Zealand Logger - - Contents -

New owner for Tas­man pulp and pa­per mill; de­lay for FGR forestry trans­for­ma­tion plan; Aus­tralians match NZ with 1 bil­lion trees plan; Gis­borne foresters cen­sured; For­est Prac­tice Guides launched; new Log­gic sys­tem for Woods­man Pro heads; joint biose­cu­rity plan launched; un­fair log trade un­der­mines green econ­omy; South­land forester wins Prince of Wales Award; satel­lites aid con­tin­u­ous for­est mon­i­tor­ing; more grants to boost tree plant­ing.

NOR­WAY’S NORSKE SKOG HAS SOLD THE Tas­man pulp and pa­per mill near Kaw­erau to an­other in­ter­na­tional newsprint com­pany, paving the way for the threat­ened busi­ness to re­main in op­er­a­tion.

Last month the Over­seas In­vest­ment Of­fice (OI) gave its ap­proval for NS Nor­way to buy Norske Skog’s Kaw­erau as­sets for $29.9 mil­lion.

“We con­sider that with­out this In­vest­ment, the Tas­man mill and New Zealand-based busi­ness of Norske Skog Tas­man are likely to be closed down in the short term,” states the OIO, point­ing out that Norske Skog was in a “fi­nan­cially dis­tressed” po­si­tion.

“This In­vest­ment is likely to en­able the busi­ness and Tas­man mill to con­tinue op­er­at­ing while it is eco­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble to do so.

“We note that the in­ter­na­tional pa­per mar­ket is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ag­gre­gate over­sup­ply is­sues and there is gen­er­ally ex­pected to be on-go­ing de­creas­ing de­mand for pa­per prod­ucts over the longer term.”

The sale also in­cludes 351 hectares at the mill’s Fletcher Ave site in Kaw­erau and 48ha at nearby Springs Rd, de­scribed as “sen­si­tive land” re­quir­ing OIO con­sent.

New owner, NS Nor­way, is an in­ter­na­tional newsprint and mag­a­zine pa­per pro­ducer that has been op­er­at­ing for about 50 years, largely con­trolled by US in­vestors.

NS Nor­way says it in­tends to con­tinue to run the busi­ness from New Zealand in con­junc­tion with its in­ter­na­tional pa­per mills and prod­uct sup­ply chains across sev­eral coun­tries in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, Ire­land, Poland and Aus­tria.

The deal pro­tects the 160 jobs as­so­ci­ated with the mill and also comes as a wel­come re­lief to the for­est com­pa­nies, har­vest­ing con­trac­tors and trans­port op­er­a­tors who sup­ply wood from nearby forests. The mill pro­duces around 150 kilo-tonnes of newsprint an­nu­ally.

Mean­while, Juken New Zealand has con­firmed that it will go ahead with a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar up­grade at its Tri­board plant at Kaitaia that will keep it op­er­at­ing for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

Last month, NZ Log­ger re­ported JNL was un­der­tak­ing a re­view of the Tri­board plant, which has been op­er­at­ing un­prof­itably. Af­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions with staff and their union, JNL says it will in­vest in new tech­nol­ogy equip­ment and other re­fur­bish­ments at the mill, whilst mov­ing from a 24/7 op­er­a­tion to a 24-hour, 5-day week. This will re­sult in some of the 250 staff be­ing made re­dun­dant. Dis­cus­sions are also on­go­ing to se­cure logs for the mill, which has faced short­ages.

NZL

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