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Not us says Citic

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 11th April 2002

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Chinese-owned Citic says it has not put a back up offer in place for the assets of the Central North Island Forestry Partnership.

Fletcher Challenge Forests (NZSE: FFS) has already announced it is the front runner to buy the assets although it has yet to reveal how it will fund the purchase.

Earlier this week FCF said it had been told by the receivers that a back up offer was also in place should it not be able to go ahead with the deal.

Citic Forests (NZ) managing director , Sun Xinguo, has confirmed that the company was a party to discussions with the receiver over the future of the partnership's 190,000 hectare forestry assets but he says it has not put in a bid.

"Contrary to speculation, Citic does not have a back up offer in place should Fletcher Forests not execute the purchase of the assets of the Central North Island Forest Partnership.

"It has no agreement with the receiver or knowledge of a backup agreement."

CNIFP receiver Michael Stiassny is not revealing who the back up offer is from although he has ruled out local forestry giant Carter Holt Harvey (NZSE: CAH).

Citic was joint owner of the Central North Island Forests with Fletcher Forests until the partnership went into receivership last year.

The forestry assets were purchased from the government in 1996 for $2.2 billion but are now reported to be valued at around $1.4 billion.

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