Two of six bids received by KordaMentha for Gunns' assets in Tasmania interested in controversial Tamar Valley pulp mill project permit, four interested in forestry operations; bidders are from Australia, Asia, UK and US
April 1, 2014
(AAP Australian General News)
– Two of the six bidders chasing the assets of failed timber giant Gunns are interested in taking up its controversial Tasmanian pulp mill permit.
Gunns' receivers KordaMentha have received the six bids for assets including plantations, forestry businesses and the licence to build the Tamar Valley mill.
Four bids have been received for the forestry operations, with two parties interested in the permit.
The bidders have not been identified but come from Australia, Asia, the UK and the US.
The receivers will analyse the bids to decide a preferred bidder, a process expected to take two weeks, before negotiations that could take several months.
KordaMentha's Bryan Webster said the receivers were happy with the response.
"There was a lot of competitive tension in the process and they are strong bids," Mr Webster said in a statement.
The failure of Gunns to attract a co-investor in its proposed $2.5 billion pulp mill was one of the causes of its collapse in September 2012.
The mill has been opposed by environmentalists and locals and its permit was the subject of a Supreme Court challenge from the Tasmanian Conservation Trust (TCT).
The TCT argued the permit's validity had lapsed because substantial work on the project had not started by a due date in August 2011.
More than $200 million was spent on the project, but only ground work was done.
Many considered the proposal dead in the water when Gunns collapsed, but former Labor premier Lara Giddings revived it when she called an election in January.
Ms Giddings cited the ALP's support for the mill when she ended a power-sharing deal with the Greens.
Labor then recalled parliament to rush through "doubts removal" legislation extending the permit's validity to 2017.
Tasmania's new Liberal government also supports the project.
Gunns entered voluntary administration in September 2012 owing about $750 million.
(c) 2014 Australian Associated Press