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Hancock sells off $31.9m in Washington timber assets

Pope Resources has agreed to acquire 7,300 acres of timber in western Washington state from Hancock Timber Resource Group.

Timberland investment group Hancock Timber Resource Group will sell 7,300 acres of forest for $31.9 million to NASDAQ-traded land and timber company Pope Resources, pending a third-party financing agreement.

“We like what this transaction represents in terms of species mix, age class distribution, ease-of-operability, and accretive cashflow,” said Pope chief executive Tom Ringo in a statement.  “An added plus is how the property folds neatly into our existing timberland management infrastructure due to its proximity to other lands we already own and manage.”

Pope plans to finance the deal through an outside credit facility, which the company has not yet secured. It expects to close the financing some time in Q3 2016.

HTRG, a subsidiary of Hancock Natural Resources Group, itself a division of US insurer Manulife, bought 98,000 acres in Florida from real estate investment trust Plum Creek in September for $120 million. HNRG appointed Bill Peressini as chief executive in August.

Pope Resources and its subsidiaries Olympic Resource Management and Olympic Property Group own or manage 205,000 acres of timberlands in Washington, Oregon and California.

The volume of timber acres traded in the US has decreased steadily since 2012, but values have remained strong. In 2015, returns on timberland in the US Northwest were 8.15 percent, compared with 4.31 percent in the South.