Minter Ellison has assisted a Global Forest Partners (GFP)-advised investment fund on the purchase of the forestry assets of the Timbercorp Group of companies (in liquidation).
The assets, which were purchased for $345 million, comprised prime blue gum plantations located in Western Australia and the Green Triangle region of Victoria and South Australia.
The liquidator, KordaMentha, was advised by Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Arnold Bloch Leibler.
GFP is an international plantation forestry investment manager based in New Hampshire in the US, with a global portfolio exceeding $2.5 billion. The purchasing fund will trade as Australian Bluegum Plantations Pty Limited. Funds managed by GFP already own more than 40,000 hectares of pine plantations in southern NSW and the Green triangle region.
It was a complicated transaction which involved the acquisition of forestry assets from eight companies in liquidation. The assets included 92,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantations (about 100 million trees), 39,000 hectares of freehold land, leasehold rights to 53,000 hectares as well as the business infrastructure. About 10,000 growers had invested in the management investment schemes that had underpinned Timbercorp's forestry business.
The Minter Ellison team was led by corporate partner Callen O'Brien and comprised special counsel Andrew Wright and partners Virginia Briggs and Ralph Ayling. The Corrs team was led by partner David Hallam, and Arnold Bloch Leibler by partner Leon Zwier.
Commenting on the transaction, Minter's O'Brien said: "What we're seeing in the market is a trend away from financial engineering to much simpler ownership structures. This deal is a prime example of that trend."