19 May 1995

Fund to sell large forestry investment

DUE to a pension funds decision to withdraw from forestry investment over 7000 acres within the UK have recently come onto the market.

Six woodlands totalling 7155 acres are the remainder of the funds £10m forestry portfolio – the rest was sold in the late 1980s.

Three of the woodlands are in Scotland, the largest being the 2255-acre commercial Spruce Hyndhope Forest near Ettrickbridge, Selkirk. Established between 1972 and 1984, an income from sawlogs and small roundwood can soon be expected. Additional to the income from timber there is £9000 of grant and sporting income annually. Selling agents Bidwells are quoting a guide price of £1.1m.

Also in Scotland is Glenample Forest (1800 acres), near Lochearnhead, in Perthshire. Guided at £875,000, it is mainly Sitka spruce with some larch, pine and mixed broadleaves.

Eildrig Forest, near Craik, Roxburghshire, is 1232 acres and guided at £1.5m. The forest is approaching maturity with most of the crops having been thinned over the past five years.

The southern woodlands include two in Devon: 857 acres at Tottiford, near Bovey Tracey, and the 652-acre Dunster Estate, near Minehead. Agent Steele Haughton quotes guide prices of £800,000 and £875,000 respectively.

Sitka spruce crop

The smallest forest is the 359-acre Bryn Forest Estate, near Llandewi Brefi, in Wales. Most of its sitka spruce crop was planted between 1960 and 1968 with some later additional plantings. It is guided at £265,000.

Due to the level of demand Bidwells anticipate only a six-week marketing campaign. Interest in the whole portfolio has already been expressed from a variety of sources both UK and overseas-based, including the owner of a wood processing plant, a family trust and a pension fund.

"Due to increased demands for pulp, and conservation pressures on traditional timber sources in North America and Australia, timber prices have risen by 20% in the past year, making this an opportune time to sell," says Steele Haughton.