Australian timber firm Gunns has announced it has bought ITC Timber for AUS$100 mlllion in a deal that is expected to allow it to expand its hardwood wood chipping and sawmilling activities in Tasmania and Victoria.
The purchase includes a 50 per cent stake in Smartfibre, which is a woodchip exporting joint-venture with Forest Enterprises Australia.
Elders, the previous owner of ITC, will retain the Forestry and Funds Management arm of the company.
This is the latest in a string of acquisitions and deals made by Gunns as part of its ambitious goal of building a 100 per cent plantation-based pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. Such deals include its purchase of a 17.9 per cent share of FEA in July, the buyout of Auspine in 2007 and its naming as the preferred provider of a hardwood chip mill in Portland.
The firm has stated that any mill it becomes involved in must now be 100 per cent plantation-based, in order to protect the world’s forests.
Gunns currently manages some 200,000 hectares of forests, which have the potential to produce 4 million tonnes of timber each year. This could be doubled if the firm decided to use its entire capacity.