ABL acts on $28 million timber mill sale
Firms: Arnold Bloch Leibler (Hermal Group and Australian Sustainable Hardwoods), City Pacific (Gunns), Minter Ellison (Commonwealth Bank of Australia)
Deal: The purchase of the Heyfield timber mill, the largest hardwood timber mill in Australia, from Gunns Limited and its subsidiaries
Value: $28 million
Key players: ABL partner Jeremy Leibler (pictured) conducted the deal together with lawyers Jason van Grieken and Damien Cuddihy. Elizabeth Michael from City Pacific acted for Gunns and their in-house legal team.
Deal significance: On 4 May 2012, the parties signed a sale agreement in respect of the sale of the Heyfield timber mill. Following entry into the sale agreement, ABL also acted for Australian Sustainable Hardwoods in relation to court proceedings brought against Gunns Limited for refusing to sign ancillary documents relating to the sale of the Heyfield timber mill. The dispute was successfully resolved prior to a court-ordered mediation. The transaction settled on 29 May 2012 and Australian Sustainable Hardwoods has committed to retaining all 200 employees at the Heyfield timber mill site. The transaction also involved Australian Sustainable Hardwoods obtaining a combination of debt funding from Commonwealth Bank of Australia and equity funding from a group of private investors. The sale completes Gunns’ national exit from operations based on native forest wood supply. “This was an extremely challenging transaction with many twists and turns. We are pleased that we were able to achieve a quick and commercial resolution to the dispute that arose between the parties,” said Jeremy Leibler.