Silent Gunns: Deadline passes with no response

Silent Gunns: Deadline passes with no response

The state government is taking a wait- and-see approach on whether Gunns will accept its settlement offer after a deadline to do so passed on Friday with nothing but silence from the company.

The acceptance window for the offer lapsed at the "close of business" on Friday.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange last week, Gunns said that it was reviewing the offer and would provide another update when the agreement was finalised.

Gunns media spokesman Matt Horan yesterday repeated that position.

Likewise, Premier Lara Giddings also had no progress to report yesterday.

"I have not received any formal response from Gunns as yet," she said.

"We will just have to wait and see what happens."

The terms of the offer put to Gunns have not been released. However, it is believed to include a settlement in relation to a disputed debt between Gunns and the government-owned Forestry Tasmania.

Announcing the offer last Monday, Ms Giddings said that the government had a legal obligation to provide a financial settlement to Gunns for its exit from the native forest industry.

Financial consultant Tony Gray said yesterday that the company should have been able to respond by the Friday deadline.

"I would have thought that they had plenty of time to consider what they understood to be acceptable compensation, and consider what their legal options are if they don't accept it," Mr Gray said.

But he said that the late response was not unexpected.

"The company has a habit of setting deadlines for a whole range of things, and the deadlines pass without comment," he said.

Gunns cited uncertainty over the compensation deal when it suspended share trading in August, and Mr Gray said that delaying this deal could keep its shares off the market a while longer.

"On Monday it will have been more than a month since they traded. That's an unusually long time," he said.