No sale seen for Gunns

RECEIVERS for failed timber company Gunns say talks are still under way with potential buyers of the Tamar Valley pulp mill land and permits, but a sale is not imminent. 

Time is running out for a possible buyer, with the permits for the mill lapsing next year.

Under the former Labor government, Parliament was recalled in early 2014 to pass legislation that extended the time by which the project must be ‘‘substantially commenced’’.

The legislation extended the validity of the permits from four years to ten, which will expire in August next year.

The permits lapse if the project has not started by that time, and the current Liberal government has ruled out an extension, saying that while it supports the project it would ‘‘’need to stand on its own two feet’’.

Kordamentha spokesman Michael Smith said on Thursday that the receivers were still talking with two preferred bidders.

‘‘It’s a long, slow process,’’ Mr Smith said.

‘‘There’s one [bidder] that they are talking to more intensely than the other. It’s taking much longer than they thought –  it’s a pretty complicated asset.’’

Mr Smith said the business case for a pulp mill depended on ‘‘all kinds of things’’ such as commodity prices.

‘‘The talks are still going but it’s not dead,’’ he said. ‘‘The receivers obviously still think they can get a sale.’’

He said creditors could call off the process andtry to sell the 650 hectares  at Bell Bay, but that had not happened yet.

‘‘Clearly there’s some confidence there may be a sale,’’ he said.

The mill has the backing of 51.2 per cent of people in Bass  and 52.5 per cent of people in Lyons, according to a ReachTEL poll of about 1200 voters.

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