Gunns owes its banking syndicate AU$445M following sale of assets, report by receiver Korda Mentha reveals; Bell Bay, Tarpeena sawmills sold for AU$30.1M, Kalangadoo sawmill sell-off raises AU$24M

Wendy Lisney

Wendy Lisney

May 10, 2013 – Mercury

HOBART, Australia , May 9, 2013 () – COLLAPSED timber company Gunns Limited still owes its banking syndicate $445 million despite the sale of a number of key assets.

A new report by Korda Mentha, the receiver and manager of Gunns, has revealed the bargain price paid for the Bell Bay and Tarpeena sawmills assets.

The presentation of accounts lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission shows that New Forest Limited paid $30.13 million for the two sawmills on December 31 last year after a worldwide sales campaign.

Confidentiality agreements cover other elements of the transaction which parties would not divulge.

Gunns Limited bought the Bell Bay mill in 2011 from Forest Enterprises Australia for $48.5 million.

Receivers Mark Korda and Bryan Webster would not reveal the sale price when announcing the deal in December.

The latest Korda Mentha report showed that at the time of collapse secured lenders, including the ANZ Bank, were owed $468.9 million.

After the sale of assets, including a $24 million sawmill at Kalangadoo in South Australia, the banking syndicate is still owed $445 million.

The asset sale figures reveal a massive slump in values in the timber industry in several years.

When it bought Bell Bay Gunns claimed the purchase was so good that it claimed an $18 million bonus in its accounts for a ``bargain purchase''.

The Tarpeena mill was part of Auspine which Gunns bought for $332 million in 2007.

New Forests also bought $107 million of former Auspine forest from Gunns.

In the six months since the company went into receivership Korda Mentha has received $169 million but paid out $145 million to creditors.

(c) 2013 News Limited

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