The Rohatyn Group puts WA sandalwood estate on market

New York-based emerging markets-focused group has put the 6,700-ha estate up for sale after selling down timber assets in New Zealand last year.

The Rohaytn Group (TRG) has put an aggregation of six sandalwood properties in Australia up for sale.

The New York-based asset manager is selling its STS Australian Sandalwood Estate in Western Australia as a whole or in parts.

The aggregation comprises six properties across 81 separate freehold titles totaling approximately 6,700 hectares, of which 4,930 hectares is planted production area. All the properties are located within WA’s Wheatbelt region.

The estate contains plantations of between six and 13 years old, according to a sale listing video seen by Agri Investor, and represents “some of the world’s first sustainably-grown plantation sandalwood resource to come to the open international market,” according to agent Smith Agri International.

The six properties comprising the estate are:

  • Maitland Tree Farm, a 1,554-hectare holding with 12 and 13-year-old plantations;
  • Grassmore Tree Farm, a 1,521-hectare holding with a 13-year-old plantation;
  • Nelsons Tree Farm, a 1,204-hectare holding with a 10-year-old plantation;
  • Aldinga Tree Farm, a 1,172-hectare holding with an 11-year-old plantation;
  • Yulakin Tree Farm, a 1,072-hectare holding with a seven-year-old plantation;
  • Tutanning Tree Farm, a 190-hectare holding with six and seven-year-old plantations.

The WA government cut its annual harvest quota of wild-grown sandalwood from 3,000 tonnes to 2,500 tonnes from July 1, 2016, effective for 10 years, meaning that developed plantations such as the STS estate could prove attractive to institutional investors looking for access to the market, a market observer told Agri Investor.

Seller TRG is an asset manager focused on emerging markets. It acquired GMO Renewable Resources, an agriculture and forestry-focused unit of investment firm Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo for an undisclosed sum in August 2017.

The firm sold two timber assets to Sydney-based New Forests last year for an undisclosed sum in a transaction that completed the deployment of New Forests’ Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 2.

Smith Agri International is conducting the sale process via an expression of interest campaign.