No word yet on Gunns' permit bidders

TWO undisclosed parties have placed bids with Gunns' company receiver KordaMentha for the former company's Long Reach pulp mill licence.

KordaMentha yesterday confirmed that six bids have been received for Gunns assets, but said names would not be announced until a sale agreement was signed.

KordaMentha spokesman Mike Smith said bidding had been competitive with four bids received for the forestry business, including land, plantations and a woodchip mill, and two bids for the pulp mill licence.

There is 175,000 hectares of land for sale, on which there are about 100,000 hectares of plantations - largely hardwood eucalyptus.

The licence is to build a pulp mill on 650hectares of land within the Tamar Valley.

Former premier Lara Giddings recalled Parliament this year to successfully remove any doubts over permit validity under the Pulp Mill Assessment Amendment Bill.

Mr Smith said bids came from the United Kingdom, the United States, Asia and Australia.

He said the successful buyer, or buyers, would be known in the next few weeks after receivers analysed the bids and negotiated sale agreements.

Mr Smith said a whole assets package - including the forestry business, land, plantations, and the pulp mill permit - could still be negotiated.

Peg Putt, chief executive of sustainable forestry lobby group Markets for Change, said there was a public right to know the identity of the bidders given the public was sidelined in the fast-tracked permit approvals process years ago.

"The determination for secrecy shows that the people that want to make money out of a permit are well aware of the dubious nature of the permit in the public mind," she said.

Forest Industries Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards said the bidding showed a confidence in the forest industry's future.

He said it was "very pleasing" there are at least two bidders for the pulp mill permits.

Gunns went into receivership in September 2012 with secured debts of $560 million, and $24 million in net assets.

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