SOUTH BEND Weyerhaeuser has sold about 40,000 acres of hemlock timberland in Pacific County to Boston-based Hancock Timber Resource Group for $126 million.
The Pacific County deal, which has been in the works for the past year and a half, is part of an overall sale that also includes about 42,000 acres in Grays Harbor County priced at $74 million. A total of five tracts are involved in the two counties.
Pacific County Assessor Bruce Walker said prior to the sale Weyerhaeuser owned about 184,000 acres in the county.
The Federal Way company said the timberland sold Friday no longer fits its long-term strategy, which is concentrating on Douglas fir. Weyerhaeuser still owns or manages more than 1 million acres of timberland in Washington and 6 million nationally.
The Hancock Timber Resource Group, a division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc., manages 5.3 million acres of timberland in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Hancock has owned forestland in Pacific County for a number of years under the name Hancock Forest Management Inc. According to the companys website, We develop and manage globally diversified timberland portfolios for public and corporate pension plans, high net-worth individuals, and foundations and endowments.
These highly productive timberlands represent an excellent investment opportunity for our clients, and were very pleased to be able to acquire them, said Dan Christensen, president of the Hancock Timber Resource Group, in a press release. This transaction is part of our on-going effort to secure high-quality timberlands for our investors.
The sale is part of a trend in the Western U.S., which is seeing private timberlands being sold to investment management groups.
Todays sale represents the continued efforts to strategically rebalance our timberlands, said Dan Fulton, Weyerhaeuser president and CEO. We have a competitive advantage in growing and processing Douglas fir, and the sale focuses our Western operations on managing that species. While the land sold is high-quality, productive timberlands, it no longer fits our long-term strategic plan.
Weyerhaeuser operates in more than 20 locations in Washington state, including its corporate headquarters in Federal Way and a small mill complex in Raymond. After a number of layoffs in recent years, it is believed that about 110 are employed in Raymond. Weyerhaeuser employs nearly 3,800 people in the region. Nationwide, Weyerhaeuser will continue to own and manage more than 6 million acres of timberland.
Trees and land are the core of the company, Fulton said. We are the largest private landowner in the Pacific Northwest, and we remain committed to this region for the long term.
The Associated Press reported that Weyerhaeuser said Friday it returned to profit in the fourth quarter after a loss a year ago, as sales rose in its timber, wood products and cellulose fibers businesses.
The results beat Wall Streets expectations and shares recently climbed 81 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $24.39 in trading.
Net income totaled $171 million, or 32 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31 compared with a loss of $175 million, or 83 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time gains of $119 million, net income was 10 cents per share.
Revenue rose to $1.66 billion from $1.46 billion in the previous year.
On average, analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted earnings of 5 cents per share on $1.55 billion in revenue.
For the year, the companys net income was $1.28 billion, or $3.99 per share, compared with a loss of $545 million, or $2.58 a share, in 2009. Revenue increased percent to $6.6 billion from $5.5 billion in 2009.
The results for the year include $1.06 billion from tax adjustments related to the companys conversion to a real estate investment trust.