End of an Era for Rayonier?

The announced possible sale of Matariki Forests could see the departure of Rayonier from the NZ (and Australasian) forestry scene. Rayonier is the forestry manager for the consortium whose shareholders include Rayonier Inc with 40%, AMP Capital Investors with 35% and the Rosenburg Real Estate Equity Fund (also known as RREEF, which is owned by Deutsche Bank) with 25%. The estate totals 140,000 hectares. The last large-forest sale in NZ occurred when Carter Holt Harvey sold 187,000 hectares to Hancock Timber Resources Group in late 2006.

Rayonier first burst onto the scene in 1992 when it purchased the majority of the Timberland estate from the NZ Government. Since then it has built an MDF plant at Mataura, Southland, formed various JV businesses, and invested (and then divested again) in forests in Tasmania, Australia.

One of Rayonier's greatest influences in NZ was the introduction of stumpage tendering. This was originally introduced over its whole estate in 1998 but has only been retained in Southland where this method continues today. The programme's relative lack of success relates to concerns about the method not realising the best return from the forest. The experience and learning gained from this programme has helped formed the basis of how PF Olsen today to evaluate the best sales method for individual forest owners.