Weyerhaeuser to sell Australian mills

Following a $148 million first-quarter loss, Federal Way, Wash.- based Weyerhaeuser has announced plans to sell its Australian sawmills to Auckland-based Carter Holt Harvey.

The deal will add five additional mills to Carter Holt, which currently runs plants and mills throughout the country.

Assets to be sold include the selling and distribution operations of Pine Solutions Australia, including an export chip business operated out of Portland, Victoria; as well as sawmills owned under the Weyerhaeuser Australia name. Additionally, the sale includes Green Triangle Forest Products and its associated sawmills, export chip business and Pine Mouldings operation.

Weyerhaeuser is also in discussions on a potential simultaneous sale of its 50 percent interest of the Green Triangle Forest Products timberlands business to a timber investment fund, according to the company. Those timberlands include approximately 50,000 acres of plantation pine forest in Australia.

"The Australian businesses will continue to focus on meeting customer needs during the sale process and will work with the potential buyer to ensure a smooth transition," said Craig Neeser, Weyerhaeuser senior vp-International Group. "It is also important to note that the employees and contractors working for the Weyerhaeuser Australia Group have made significant contributions to its success and will be an asset to any potential buyer."

Terms of the Carter Holt deal were not disclosed. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.