New Forests fund acquires Wenita shareholding
Wednesday 11 Jul 2018This week New Forests announced its Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 2 (ANZFF2) has acquired a 38% shareholding in Wenita Forest Products and full ownership of the Otago Land Company, which holds 22,500 hectares of freehold land on which Wenita operates via forestry rights.
The assets are being sold by The Rohatyn Group (TRG), a specialised asset management firm with expertise in emerging markets and real assets, which first purchased the Wenita shareholding in 2005 in a joint venture with Chinese logistics company Sinotrans and 100% of the OLC land in 2006.
The transaction marks the successful completion and full investment of the AUD 707 million ANZFF2 fund. “The Wenita transaction is a milestone for our ANZFF series of forestry funds as we complete full investment of ANZFF2, securing significant scale in both target countries of Australia and New Zealand,” noted Mark Rogers, Managing Director for New Forests’ Australia-New Zealand business. “New Forests has been selective and disciplined in creating the ANZFF2 portfolio. The Wenita acquisition complements the fund’s hardwood and softwood plantation exposure in Australia and brings our New Zealand estate to more than 48,000 hectares in total.”
Wenita is the largest softwood grower in Otago with a 29,200-hectare estate growing primarily radiata pine. Wenita maintains Forest Stewardship Council certification of responsible forest management and has high standards for care of the environment, worker safety, and the quality of its forests and timber.
TRG Partner Ian Jolly said, “The ultimate success of this investment for TRG has been the result of significant direct involvement in the management of the plantations, including the setting of its business model and an extremely collaborative relationship with Sinotrans. At the time of acquisition, the Wenita estate was depleted, had very high operating costs and relatively poor yields. During our ownership, inventory has recovered, yields are greatly improved, and operating costs have reduced dramatically as harvesting is now in the second rotation. We are delighted to deliver a strong realized return from this investment to our clients.”
New Forests’ focused investment funds across Australia and New Zealand represent more than AUD 2.75 billion of forestry and processing assets. New Forests is currently investing its Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 3, which has capital commitments of AUD 873 million from a combination of pension funds and superannuation funds.
New Forests manages AUD 4.5 billion in assets and funds under management, with more than 940,000 hectares of forests, land, and conservation investments in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and the United States.
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