Published: 14 July 2005
The Hancock Timber Resource Group said in Boston on Tuesday it had agreed to buy Prudential Timber Investments Inc, the timberland investment management unit of Prudential Financial Inc. Terms weren’t disclosed. The deal should close in the 3rd quarter.
The deal doubles the area Hancock manages in New Zealand with a 60,000ha acquisition which puts former Fletcher Forests assets back into single management (but not single ownership).Hancock will assume management responsibility for PruTimber’s 180,000ha of timberland worth $US660 million, increasing its total assets under management by 25% to 1 million ha & $US3.1 billion.Hancock Timber president Dan Christensen said the significant increase in assets under management would provide additional economies of scale, ultimately benefiting investors. “In addition, we strengthen our property portfolio, increasing our acreage in the southern US, more than doubling our acreage in New Zealand and adding new acreage in South America.”The assets currently managed by PruTimber include nearly 95,000ha in the southern US, more than 8000ha in Hawaii and 60,000ha in New Zealand (which will take Hancock’s Australasian assets under management to more than 340,000ha). The acquisition also will mark Hancock’s entry into South America with the addition of nearly 18,000ha of timberlands in Brazil.”In a global economy, we believe that having access to timber markets around the world will provide excellent long-term opportunities for our clients,” Mr. Christensen said. Hancock Timber is a division of the Hancock Natural Resource Group Inc, an operating company of MFC Global Investment Management. That, in turn, is the institutional asset management arm of Manulife Financial Corp, based in Toronto with investment offices there and in Boston, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong & South-east Asia.
In New Zealand, Hancock Forest Management (NZ) Ltd manages 40,000ha of Central North Island plantations for Tiaki Plantations Co. Hancock bought a one-rotation forestry right over the Tarawera Forest estate from Tenon Ltd (the former Fletcher Challenge Forests) in June 2004 for $165 million. Tenon had earlier agreed the $560 million sale of the bulk of its forest assets to the Kiwi Forests consortium headed by the Tramco investment group’s Adrian Burr, Mark Wyborn, Rob Campbell & Ross Green, with partners the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Viking Global NZ Ltd (a Prudential company).
Manulife & John Hancock combined their resources in April 2004.Manulife Financial had $C350 billion ($US290 billion) under management at 31 March.