NRF helps sell Tasmanian hardwood estate

Deal shows foreign investors continue to be interested in Australian land and forestry assets, lead partner says

NRF helps sell Tasmanian hardwood estate

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has helped in the cross-border divestment of a Tasmanian hardwood estate.

The global law firm advised Resource Management Service (RMS) on the sale of its plantations in Tasmania to investment funds advised by US-based Global Forest Partners.

Financial details of the deal, which closed on 23 December, were not disclosed. In its review of the deal, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) noted that RMS owned about 36,700 hectares of freehold land in Tasmania, including about 19,000 hectares of plantation hardwood eucalyptus, mostly in Northwest and Northeast Tasmania.

NRF said that it advised RMS on all aspects of the transaction, including vendor due diligence, competitive tender auction sale process, transaction structuring and documentation, and property and land transaction matters.

The firm also helped secure approvals from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and the ACCC. The ACCC approved the transaction on 28 November, and corporate M&A partner Ben Smits, who headed the NRF team, said that the firm is pleased to have handled concerns of the ACCC on market concentration.

“This deal shows a continued interest in Australian land and forestry assets by foreign investors,” Smits said.

NRF said that it fielded a cross-practice team to work on the deal, which included corporate M&A, property, environment and planning, regulatory, and tax experts from the firm’s Sydney and Melbourne offices.

Smits was supported by partners Stephen Iu, Claire Forster, Greg Reinhardt, Michael McKee and Elisa de Wit; special counsel Stephanie Barnes; senior associates Adam Hunter, Zoe Lonard, Sonali Seneviratne, Duncan Webber and Jacqueline Plant; associates Hugo Gotterson, Edwina Grigg and Andrew Pattinson; and lawyers Andrew Cho, Sassica Hoolahan, Alex Brand, Christopher Goutama and Rachel Murphy.

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