Decision due soon on buyer for Gunns

GUNNS receiver KordaMentha will select a preferred buyer for the assets of the failed timber company by the end of the month.

It's been three weeks since two unnamed parties submitted their bids for the pulp mill permits and site near Bell Bay.

While state and federal governments are keen to see the $2.3 billion project go ahead, there's no guarantee KordaMentha will select a bid that includes the pulp mill.

Another four companies that are not interested in the pulp mill have lodged bids for Gunns' other assets including land, plantations and a woodchip mill.

The receiver's priority is to get the best price for Gunns' secured creditors, who were owed $560 million when the company collapsed in September 2012.

KordaMentha spokesman Michael Smith said yesterday they would narrow the bids down to one next week or early the following week and begin negotiating the details.

Environmental groups have called for bidders to be named, but Mr Smith said the preferred bidder would remain a secret until a sale agreement was finalised as it was important to maintain confidentiality during sensitive negotiations.

He said no parties had been excluded yet.

"Like any horse race, some horses are in the lead and some are trailing but no one's out of the race yet," Mr Smith said.

Premier Will Hodgman is yet to get a briefing on the process since taking office in March.

"We're keen, of course, to understand where this project is at," Mr Hodgman said this week.

Mr Smith said KordaMentha may need to consult the government during the final negotiation phase.

"They may be negotiating some conditions where the government may be a stakeholder," Mr Smith said.

It's unclear what more state or federal governments could do to support the pulp mill, but it may include tax relief or guarantees of plantation supply.

Earlier this year, legislation removing any legal threat to the validity of the mill permits was passed in a special sitting of State Parliament.

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