A sale agreement for forestry rights to 29,000 hectares of hardwood plantations is a huge step towards putting Sustainable Timber Tasmania back onto a commercial footing.
Last year the state government instructed the Board of Sustainable Timber Tasmania to conduct a competitive national and international sale process to maximise the market value of the forestry rights for sale.
The Government is pleased to announce that the Board of Sustainable Timber Tasmania has now entered into a binding sale contract with Reliance Forest Fibre. The total purchase price is $60.7 million.
Reliance Forest Fibre is a new enterprise owned by investment funds advised by Global Forest Partners LP. Global Forest Partners is an international forest investment advisory firm with approximately 700,000 ha of timberland across the globe under management, valued at around $3.7 billion. GFP has a long history of sustainable forestry investments in Australia and this investment represents its first in Tasmania – a further sign of growing confidence in the Tasmanian forest industry.
This transaction will result in diversification of ownership in the forestry sector bringing global expertise and capital to Tasmania. It is anticipated that Reliance Forest Fibre will assume full management control of the forestry right area in October 2017 and will establish a local management team and use Tasmanian contractors, creating new jobs in the state.
We welcome Reliance Forest Fibre to Tasmania and note this is a very positive outcome for the Tasmanian forest industry, economy and taxpayer.
The sale price meets the objectives outlined in my Ministerial Statement from October 2016 of retiring STT's debt and helps ensure a sustainable future for the business.
On top of the announcement earlier this year that the transition to Sustainable Timber Tasmania is on track to deliver a $30 million improvement to the bottom line over the next four years, the sale outcome is another important milestone in our plan to place Sustainable Timber Tasmania on a commercial footing and to grow the forest industry.