New Forests has finalised the acquisition of Hikurangi Forest Farms (HFF), based in Gisborne, New Zealand, on behalf of its investment clients.
As part of the ownership transition HFF has been renamed Aratu Forests Limited. A formal launch of the new rebranded business is planned in Gisborne in September 2019.
The purchase is one of the largest forestry estates in the Gisborne region and includes around 25,000 hectares of radiata pine plantation on 35,000 hectares of freehold, forest rights, and leasehold land. Significant investment has been carried out since the assets were acquired in 1997, building a high yielding and sustainable forest estate that is a significant contributor to the regional economy.
New Forests continues to implement an ownership transition plan incorporating continuity of operations. Aratu Forestry employs 32 staff directly and spends over $40 million annually in the East Coast community. Both companies have undertaken engagement with key stakeholders, including local businesses, Tangata Whenua representatives, councils, and community groups.
“We are encouraged by the positive engagement with stakeholders through the transition period and look forward to further collaboration to support the long- term sustainability of this regionally significant forestry asset,” Matt Crapp, Director Operations for New Forests said.
Aratu Forests Limited will continue to be responsible for the ongoing legal proceedings related to breaches of the Resource Management Act following the Tolaga Bay storm damage in June 2018. “We will be actively pursuing strategies under the relaunched business to ensure that our management practices learn from the outcomes of the Tolaga Bay storm and meet local regulatory and international third-party forest certification standards,” said Crapp.
Mark Rogers, Managing Director for New Forests’ Australia-New Zealand business said, “New Forests and our clients represent long-term, stable, institutional ownership that we believe will be a key enabler for the future sustainable growth of New Zealand’s forest industry.”
Photo: Mark Rogers, Managing Director for New Forests’ Australia-New Zealand