Canadian pension fund Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo), together with the Australia and New Zealand Forest Fund (ANZFF), have paid $415 million for the forestry land of collapsed managed investment schemes operator Great Southern.
New Forests Pty Limited, a Sydney-based timber investment management firm, will manage the estate on behalf of AIMCo and ANZFF and the assets have been acquired from the receivers and managers of Great Southern.
Minter Ellison acted for the vendor, with Clayton Utz acting for the purchaser.
At the time of its collapse in 2009, Great Southern was the largest MIS operator in Australia, operating 45 schemes with about 43,000 investors. More than 600 properties and over 1500 titles across Australia were involved, mostly comprising forestry plantations under multi-layered land tenure arrangements.
The sale involved about 269,000 hectares of land assets across South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania and is the largest private forestry sale by area in Australia.
According to Minter Ellison, the completion of the sale was the culmination of more than 18 months' work by the firm and marks a significant milestone in the receivership of the Great Southern Group.
"The timeframe for getting the deal done largely reflects the complexity of the assets, the geographic diversity of the properties - assets were located across Australia - and the sheer number of titles and encumbrances," said Brendon Watkins, Minters' restructuring & insolvency lead partner.
Along with Watkins, the Minters team was led by Nick Anson, Carolyn Reynolds and Don MacCallum.
Matt Anderson and Peter MacMahon led the Clayton Utz team.