Gunns buyers continue sale negotiations

GUNNS receivers are expected to continue talks with two potential buyers of the Tamar Valley pulp mill after finalising a deal to sell all of the failed timber company's other assets.

Receivers KordaMentha have struck a deal with Sydney-based forestry investment company New Forests, which is set to buy Gunns' timber business, including about 100,000 hectares of hardwood plantation, for $330 million.

The Examiner understands the sale does not include the pulp mill permits or land near Bell Bay.

However, there is a slim chance a separate buyer could be found for the controversial project.

Two out of six potential buyers were interested in the pulp mill and receivers are expected to continue negotiations with them.

It will be a near impossible task to sell it without the crucial guarantee of resource supply from Gunns' plantation estate.

Receivers will travel to Tasmania to advise Gunns staff first about the details of the agreement on Tuesday or Wednesday.

KordaMentha yesterday refused to confirm or deny the sale agreement.

"We're still in the final stages of negotiations and still in the period of confidentiality," a KordaMentha spokesman said.

The money from the deal will go to Gunns' secured creditors, who were owed $560 million when the company collapsed in September 2012.

The state government will be briefed on progress by KordaMentha next week.

The Liberals and Labor have strongly backed a pulp mill, approving legislation removing any legal threat to the validity of the mill permits in a special sitting of State Parliament in January.

New Forests' winning bid was selected from six formal bids from companies in the United Kingdom, the US and Asia.

New Forests could not be contacted yesterday.


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