Australian Forest Asset Sale

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Environinvest Ltd has for the last 8 months undertaken an extensive marketing programme to sell its forest assets. The asset sale has been managed by Ernst and Young seeking expressions of interest from around the world. Currently there are four parties at various stages of bidding.

Rather than sit back and watch a protracted battle over the tree assets, the Environinvest Board wished to bring matters to a head.

While there are indications that offers might be made which could be acceptable to Environinvest, the Board is concerned about indications it has received in recent months from the Commonwealth Bank and its advisers that it intends to retain proceeds from the sale of investors trees if there is a shortfall of funds required to pay back its loan secured by land.

"We do not know yet if there will be a shortfall but until this matter is resolved the Board is unhappy with a process which could potentially lose our tree investors some of their investment", said Environinvest Director, Jason Bresnehan.

Environinvest for the past 10 years has offered investors tax effective investments in Managed Investment Schemes growing Blue Gums mainly on Environinvest land and totalling in excess of 10,000 hectares.

Recent legislative changes and high land prices led Environinvest to decide that no more Blue Gum MIS schemes would be offered by the company and that its forest assets would be sold.

"Regrettably several potential buyers were in the home straight when it became crystal clear what the Commonwealth Bank's intentions were", Mr Bresnehan said.

Environinvest also announced today that in light of this issue it had appointed a voluntary administrator to protect the company and therefore the interests of its tree investors.

"We are shoring up our defences, and have turned to an external administrator" said Jason Bresnehan. Net tangible assets recorded in the audited accounts of 30 June 2007 were $29 million.

"Rather than sit back and watch a protracted battle over the tree assets, the Environinvest Board wished to bring matters to a head."

"Unfortunately the administration is likely to interfere with the sale process but it is expected it will continue while this matter is being sorted out. In the meantime we will consult our tree investors to get their approval for a sale and seek further clarification of the bank's position".


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