Indicative bids for South Australia Timber rolled into the state's Treasury office late yesterday and it is understood there is significant interest from global timber investment funds.
Seven or eight bids were expected to be handed over by yesterday's close for the $700 million asset, The Australian Financial Review reports.
The sale of cutting rights for three harvests from the top-quality estate in the Green Triangle is regarded one of the best softwood growing regions in the Asia-Pacific.
UBS, which is handling the sale on behalf of the cash-strapped state, spent the past two weeks in North America on a roadshow, with feedback said to be positive. The investment bank will take few weeks to assess bids, with final offers due late July.
American tree-hugger Hancock Natural Resource Group already controls assets in Victoria and Queensland and would have cost advantages given its location.
It's now on the march for the 71,000 hectares of softwood timber on the auction block.
Hancock already got the tick of approval from the ACCC to move ahead on the deal. Other likely bidders include Oregon-based The Campbell Group, backed by the Future Fund, Global Forest Partners, Canada's Brookfield Asset Management, GMO Renewable Resources, Alabama's Resources Management Service and Forestry Investment Associates. Sydney-based New Forest is also understood to be keen.