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Three firms act on leafy deal
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Three firms act on leafy deal

Global Forest Partners grew its Australian forestry assets and related facilities significantly last week, announcing its takeover of Gunns Limited's wood-chip export facility and of Elders' pulpwood assets.

Firms: DLA Piper (Gunns Limited), Freehills (Elders), Minter Ellison (Global Forest Partners and Australian Bluegum Plantations Pty Ltd)

Deal: Global Forest Partners grows its Australian forestry assets and related facilities

Area: Agri-business

Value: Confidential

Key players: Sydney corporate partners Callen O'Brien and Martin Bennett acted for Minters, together with property special counsel Andrew Wright and corporate lawyer Daniel Malouf. DLA Piper partners Carrie Follas and Michael Reed acted out of Sydney and Robert Nicholson and Al Donald advised on behalf of Freehills

Deal significance: Global Forest Partners agreed to acquire Gunns Limited's woodchip export facility at the Port of Portland for approx $61.8 million. It also announced it has completed the acquisition of Elders' pulpwood assets in Albany, Bunbury and the Green Triangle. Both acquisitions have been made through Australian Bluegum Plantations Pty Limited (ABP). ABP is owned by an international forestry investment fund advised by Global Forest Partners.

The Port of Portland transaction, which is subject to customary conditions including regulatory approvals, provides a tolling arrangement for future access by Gunns to the woodchip export facility for the sale of forest products from the Green Triangle in Victoria and South Australia that are under Gunns' management.

Under the deal with Elders, ABP acquired 12,400 hectares of freehold land in Albany, Bunbury and the Green Triangle; the Albany woodchip export facility owned and operated by Pulpwood Plantations Terminals Pty Ltd; and Elders-owned standing timber in Albany, Bunbury and the Green Triangle.

US giant Global Forest Partners is a leader in global timberland investments and is one of the biggest plantation managers in Australia. In 2009 it acquired the assets of the collapsed Timbercorp group of companies, including 92,000 ha. of eucalyptus plantations (approximately 100 million trees).   

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