Minter Ellison’s Sydney property team completed more than 175 land contracts for pine plantations in regional NSW. The firm acted for Global Forest Partners LP (GFP) in the acquisition and aggregation of over 300 radiata pine plantation lots (12,000 -15,000 hectares), located in the Tumut and Oberon regions of NSW, on behalf of a major US investment fund advised by GFP.
GFP entered into an agreement with an unrelated Australian entity to obtain the benefit of over 175 separate call options with pine plantation investors for the sale of their land and trees. Minter Ellison negotiated and finalised the agreement, drafted the call options and contracts, conducted due diligence in relation to the subject lands, established an entity for purchase, Hume Forests Limited, and acted for it on the sale contract under each of the call options, and successfully completed all contracts. The firm also provided corporate and tax structuring advice relating to the acquisition.
David Crane, who heads Minter Ellison’s Sydney real estate practice, led the team, which included partners Don MacCallum, Tony Dhar, Mark Green and Nathan Deveson.
Andrew Wright, senior associate on the project management team, said he had “never been in a situation” requiring the simultaneous exchange of contracts with hundreds of vendors. A team of 15 property lawyers and paralegals worked on having the contracts engrossed and sent out, while “half the property group” at Minters put the contracts together and administered them.
Another challenge was the introduction of vendor duty in the middle of the transaction, and the urgent determination of whether the transaction would be affected.