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Forests receiver has back up offer

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Tuesday 9th April 2002

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Fletcher Challenge Forests (NZSE: FFS) says it has been advised of a back-up sale agreement for the assets of the Central North Island Forestry Partnership.

Fletcher Forests announced two weeks ago that it had entered into an agreement to buy the assets of the partnership but is yet to give full details of its bid.

At the time the company said the contract is subject to a number of conditions to be satisfied within a five week period, including satisfactory financing arrangements.

The proposed purchase will also require shareholder approval at a special meeting.

FCF says the partnership's receivers have advised that a "back-up agreement" for the sale of the assets has been signed with another party but that no other details have been made available.

Receiver Michael Stiassny would not reveal any further details of the back-up agreement but confirms it is not with Carter Holt Harvey (NZSE: CAH).

Carter Holt was given regulatory clearance last July to purchase the assets although said at the time that it did not have a plan to acquire them. There is also speculation in the market that CHH may provide Fletcher Forests with much-needed financial muscle to buy the asset.

The other obvious contender is former CNIF partner Citic.

The Chinese-owned investment company was reported as early as last July to have offered US$637 million for the assets after raising US$500 million on the bond market in April 2001.

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