The largest redwood forestry estate in Australia and New Zealand has been placed on sale in a deal expected to be worth upwards of NZ$100 million ($67.8 million; €62.5 million).
The asset is being divested by the New Zealand Redwood Company, a business formed in 2001 by Californian forestry firm Soper Wheeler Company.
The estate covers 8,108ha across four blocks of land, three on New Zealand’s North Island and one on the South Island. More than 3,100ha of the estate has already been planted over the past 20 years, with seedlings available to plant more trees.
Jeremy Keating, managing director of Arotahi Agribusiness, which is managing the sale process, said the estate could be used to provide a strong supply of high-quality lumber or be used to sequester more than 108,000 tonnes of carbon per year by 2033.
“It’s pretty unusual to have a production species other than radiata pine come to the market in New Zealand, and redwoods only make up 1 percent of the country’s plantation forest estate. Redwoods are an outstanding species that provide a solution to many of the challenges associated with radiata pine, with great growth and a long lifespan that lends itself to really good carbon sequestration.
“Soper Wheeler, the parent company, found that parts of New Zealand were ideally suited to growing redwoods because of the climate, rainfall levels and soil types. They are native to quite a small area in California, so it’s pretty special that they’ve been able to take the trees and plant them in New Zealand, where they actually have growth rates that outperform their native environment.
Keating said the seller was “open-minded” about what end-use the purchaser would put the assets to.
“The carbon piece provides a very strong cashflow potential, as planting forests is one of the few ways to rapidly sequester carbon. It’s become a very strong theme here in New Zealand as the government tried to reduce carbon emissions, but it’s not without real challenges when you look at transitioning land use away from pastoral farming,” he said.
“A lot of people are concerned about what these types of forests will look like in the long term, but anyone who has been to a redwood forest can understand what outstanding assets they are, that will look amazing 10 to 15 years from now.
“We’re expecting strong, genuine interest from both domestic and international buyers, either looking at a carbon estate or from the lumber potential, particularly for foreign investors.”
Arotahi Agribusiness is conducting a two-stage sale process, with stage one offers due by June 9, 2022.