Forestry deal close says Elders

Friday 9 Aug 2013

Elders is closing in on a deal to shed its troublesome forestry interests as the drive to clear massive debts hits top gear. The historic Australian company last week completed the sale of its Futuris automotive division to US private equity firm Clearlake.

The AU$69 million sale will slash Elders' net debt and managing director Malcolm Jackman said he expected the disposal of the forestry interests within months. Mr Jackman said reducing debt remained a top priority for Elders as it moved to focus solely on its rural services business.

The forestry interests, which include blue gum plantations near Esperance with 11,000ha of freehold land and 46,000ha of standing trees, have been a millstone around the company's neck. The managed investment scheme plantations are being bulldozed with no prospect of a harvest and prepared for a return to pasture or cropping.

Source: The West Australian
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