Friday Offcuts 18 May 2018
NZ$15 million has been put aside with the exact functions, size and governance structure of the new organisation expected to be announced later in the year. The key focus for the new forestry service though has already been highlighted - working on meeting the billion trees planting target set out for the country over the next ten years. As part of the changes being made, a new Ministerial advisory group (see the make-up of the grouping below) has also been set up to provide independent advice about the forestry sector and how Government and the industry can work much more closely together to meet the deliverables being set up to grow the sector.
An announcement was made soon after the launch to get the New Zealand forest planting efforts underway. The forestry service is going to partner with Manuka Farming New Zealand to plant 1.8 million manuka trees. Up to NZ$1.8 million is going to be used to get land sorted and the native seedlings into the ground. In Australia though, figures out this week show that the area of plantation forest estate continues to fall and at this stage, there is still no backing or commitment by Government to encourage new planting.
Finally, in our tech space this week we’ve included a story aimed to get you thinking. If you’re looking to keep fatigued employees from working in high risk occupations or sites like felling, breaking out, on a wood processing a machine centre, how about incorporating some sensors into their hard hats? Sensors that pick up on the emotions of workers are already been used in China for some of their “higher risk occupations”. Devices using artificial intelligence to monitor workers emotions are now being worn. Stressed workers can be identified and then corresponding actions to help them and their co-workers taken. Too invasive? You can check out the story below. That’s it for this week. Enjoy the read.
This week we have for you:
Australian Pine Log Price Index report releasedThe latest Australian Pine Log Price Index for the July – December 2018 period has just been released. The Australian Pine Log Price Index is compiled by KPMG using data provided by Australian softwood growers. The Index documents changes in pine log prices achieved by large-scale commercial plantation owners selling common grades of plantation softwood logs to domestic processors.
KPMG updates the Index biannually, with the two reporting periods being January to June and July to December. The Index has a base period of January to June 1998. KPMG acts as the independent Index manager and collects confidential data on log volumes and stumpage values for all sales, including long and short-term contracts and spot transactions, at the end of each reporting period. Quantity information on export sawlogs and export pulpwood is also provided.
This report presents a summary of the results of the Index report released for the period January to June 2017. The findings in this report are based on data provided by HQPlantations, Forestry Corporation of NSW, HVP Plantations and OneFortyOne Plantations.
The report is attached here for your information.
New forestry service launched in RotoruaThe NZ Government has launched its new forestry service, but it's yet to decide on its exact function, size and governance structure. Te Uru Rakau will be in charge of delivering the Government's One Billion Trees programme.
Forestry Minister Shane Jones made the announcement in Rotorua last Friday. "Te Uru Rakau will build a strong and dedicated forestry presence in Rotorua, recognising that Rotorua is at the heart of the forestry sector in New Zealand. Forestry is our third largest export earner - with an annual gross income of about NZ$5 billion - and has the potential to grow," the Minister said.
The Government also announced a new Ministerial advisory group made up of 10 forestry experts. The Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group will help provide advice on delivering the One Billion Trees programme. It will be possible to follow the One Billion Trees programme online with a virtual tree counter.
"This will be updated weekly throughout the winter planting season and will show how many trees have been planted, the number of tree seedlings sold and the percentage of native versus exotic species," Mr Jones said.
The service will get NZ$15m of funding in Budget 2018. New Zealand First is claiming it as a win, with Fletcher Tabuteau saying re-establishing New Zealand's forestry service is a key aspect of the coalition. "As an MP based in Rotorua, I'm particularly happy to see our region's proud forestry industry once again put in the spotlight," Mr Tabuteau said.
Heavy vehicle safety workshops being runThe Australian Forestry Contractors Association (AFCA) will host its next round of safety workshops for forestry workers in regional NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The NHVR has joined forces with AFCA, providing funding for the Forestry Logistics Safety Program under the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.
NHVR Stakeholder Manager John Gilbert said it is imperative Australia’s forestry workers have a safe environment and the training is providing much-needed support and advice, particularly in relation to truck rollovers. “These workshops provide crucial information on load restraint, key impacts on vehicle stability when transporting forestry products and emerging technologies in this high-risk industry,” Mr Gilbert said.
“Training can make all the difference in keeping safety at the forefront of people’s thinking about how they carry out their work and NHVR is keen to support the initiative.”
AFCA has developed the workshop content in partnership with expert load restraint engineering consultants, Engistics to address forestry specific haulage challenges such as load restraint and managing truck rollover using static rollover threshold. Workshops have already been delivered in Albany and Bridgetown in Western Australia and Caloundra, Gympie and Dalby in Queensland, and Tasmania attracting more than 150 industry stakeholders across the supply chain.
“The free workshops provide information on legal obligations of securing loads; the stability of vehicles transporting forestry products and how to minimise truck rollover risk, identifying deficiencies in existing load restraint systems, and emerging new technologies and their use,” Stacey Gardiner, AFCA’s General Manager said.
“The sessions also cover chain of responsibility and proposed changes to the law, recent load restraint research and testing, rollovers and incident investigation findings including who is responsible when things go wrong. The sessions are aimed at all supply chain members who have a role or influence in the forestry haulage task and can influence the Chain of Responsibility obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law".
This includes forest management companies and their staff, forestry contracting businesses, and operators who load wood, truck drivers, workers who schedule the task and unload the wood and processors who accept wood from trucks.
For more information about the National Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative visit www.nhvr.gov.au/hvsi
To register for the Forestry workshop visit www.afca.asn.au/flst-info-rego
A two-yearly tech update, WoodFlow 2018 for all those involved in wood transportation, log measurement and tracking, wood planning, scheduling and logistics has also been set up for Melbourne, Australia on 20-21 June with two free workshops to event delegates running on the afternoon of Tuesday 19 June. Full details can be found on www.woodflow.events.
Sensors for workers safety?Is this a future safety tool for workers in higher risk occupations? Companies throughout China are using brainwave sensors to train workers and screen for mental fitness, South China Morning Post reports. More than a dozen factories are requiring workers to wear devices that use artificial intelligence to monitor their emotions. While officials say this saves money, the implications for workers are deeply troubling.
Sensors are wirelessly embedded into the brim of electric company workers' helmets and the hats of high-speed train conductors. The devices monitor workers' brainwaves, detecting the spikes and dips in emotional activity associated with panic, fatigue, sadness and other emotions. The Morning Post reports that some companies have also added the sensors to VR headsets to monitor how trainees respond to virtual environments modelled after work scenarios.
The devices have reportedly been adopted by power supply and electric companies for workers in certain "high risk" occupations, such as train conductors or electricians installing and repairing parts of the power grid. A similar device detects fatigue in conductors, triggering an alarm if it thinks they're dozing off.
Not only do the devices reduce accidents, according to company officials, they also boost profits. An official who runs the "emotional surveillance" program at the State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power told the Morning Post that profits have grown by ¥CN2 billion ($419 million) since the company began using the devices in 2014. Of course, mandatory cognitive surveillance has troubling implications for workers.
For example, the system could flag management that a certain worker is stressed or otherwise not fit to work. Companies can ask workers to de-stress by taking a break for an hour, dismissing them for the day, or even demoting them to a different position. What happens if a false positive flags a healthy worker? Companies told the Morning Post they have saved millions with the devices, but how much have workers lost by being dismissed or forced into breaks because of their brain scan readings?
"The human mind should not be exploited for profit," Qiao Zhian, professor of management psychology at Beijing Normal University, told the Morning Post. "There is no law or regulation to limit the use of this kind of equipment in China. The employer may have a strong incentive to use the technology for higher profit, and the employees are usually in too weak a position to say no."
Source: South China Morning Post, Photo: AP
Forestry advisory group established in NZNew Zealand’s Forestry Minister Shane Jones on Friday announced the formation of a new Ministerial advisory group to provide independent advice about the forestry sector and how Government and industry can work together to deliver outcomes for New Zealand.
The Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group is made up of ten forestry experts who will provide industry perspectives and advice to help meet New Zealand’s forestry goals, including the One Billion Tree Programme.
“The group has been selected for their expertise in a wide range of disciplines that I believe are necessary to deliver New Zealand’s forestry goals,” Shane Jones said. “They will provide direct industry perspectives on a range of topics, including research, commercial and conservation forestry, local government, farm-forestry, wood processing, education and research”.
“The group will provide insights on the performance of the overall forestry system, along with advice on future trends, risks and issues. I have initially tasked the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group to focus on supporting Te Uru Rakau to deliver the One Billion Trees planting programme.
“The group will be chaired by Dr Warren Parker, Chair of the New Zealand Conservation Authority and the former Chief Executive Officer of Scion and Landcare Research. Warren brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and is well-placed to chair the group”. The advisory group includes;
Dr Warren Parker
Dr Parker is the Chair of the New Zealand Conservation Authority and the former Chief Executive Officer at Scion. Prior to that he was Chief Executive Officer of Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research. He has been a board member and director of several technology development firms and research and industry consortia and is currently a member of the Predator Free 2050, Farmlands Cooperative, Genomics Aotearoa and Quayside Holdings Boards, and the Advisory Board for Griffith Enterprises.
Mr Palmer is the Chief Executive of Hawke's Bay Regional Council. Before this he held various positions at the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and between 2005 and 2008 he served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity. In the early 2000s he was an adviser and senior private secretary to the deputy Prime Minister.
Mr Rhodes is currently Chief Executive Officer for the Forest Owners Association (FOA) - the peak industry body representing the owners of New Zealand's commercial plantation forests for all aspects of planation forestry. He is the Forest Growers’ Levy Trust Secretariat, a member of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, the Forest Stewardship Council and the Chair of the UN Food and Agriculture Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries.
Mr Green is the CEO of Timberlands Ltd, a forest management company servicing to the Kaingaroa Timberlands Partnership. Previously he held the CEO position (2011- 2016) and Director for Sales and Contracting (2009 – 2011) of VicForests, Australia. Before this he was a Divisional Manager for Snavely Forest Products in San Francisco, USA. Mr Green brings extensive experience in hardwood and softwood, plantation and natural forestry, as well as experience in primary and secondary processing, import, export and distribution.
Ms Solomon (Ngai Tahu / Ngati Kuri) is a Director of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust. She was appointed to this position by the Minister of Conservation after consultation with the Minister of Maori Development. She has extensive community and iwi involvement and is a committed conservationist. She sits on a number of boards and trusts including the Kaikoura zone committee for the Canterbury water management strategy, Nelson/Marlborough Conservation Board, the Kaikoura Marine Guardians Te Korowai o Te Tai o Karokura, and the Hutton's Shearwater Charitable Trust.
Mr Walker is the General Manager of Summit Forests New Zealand Limited (Summit Forests). Summit Forests is a New Zealand is a registered subsidiary company of the Sumitomo Corporation, manages the harvest of approximately 600,000 tonnes per annum from it forest estate primarily in Northland. Prior to his current position Mr Walker held a range of roles in the finance sector.
Dr Charlotte Severne
Dr Charlotte Severne of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngai Tuhoe, is a geologist, former chief scientist for oceans and Maori development at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and most recently Deputy Vice-Chancellor M?ori and Communities at Lincoln University and Massey University's Assistant Vice-Chancellor Maori and Pasifika. She has a number of Tuwharetoa governance roles including chair of the Lake Rotoaira Trusts (Forest and Lake) and deputy chair of the Opepe Farm Trust. She is a ministerial appointment on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Science Board.
Mr Stanley was the General Manager (Fibre) at Oji Fibre Solutions and is the incumbent Chairman of WoodCo and the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association. He has an extensive senior management background in the forestry and pulp and paper industries in New Zealand including periods in NZ Forest Service, Tasman Pulp & Paper Company Limited and the Carter Holt Harvey group.
Ms Kingsford is the CEO of Competenz – the primary industry training organisation for a range of industries supporting the forestry sector. Her career with Competenz has included positions such as General Manager of Organisational Development, General Manager Trade Training, and General Manager Strategy and Transformation before being appointed to CEO in January 2016. Ms Kingsford has an Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Business Studies, as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Business and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Auckland.
Mr Cullen is the current president of the Farm Forestry Association and a lifelong farmer. He has a wealth of practical experience of land management and he brings a deep understanding of both farming and forestry and insights into what is required to persuade landholders to convert more land into forest.
Forestry training success being celebrated down SouthFor the evening of Friday 25 May, the Southern Wood Council is expecting another huge turnout by local forestry companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout the lower South Island, New Zealand. The function is the Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards for 2018.
The Council, representing all major forest owners and most of the major wood processing companies in Otago and Southland is running the 2018 Awards programme in conjunction with the industry training organisation, Competenz. The event profiles the real contribution that forestry and those working within the industry are making to the economic and social well-being of the region. It celebrates the success of those from within the industry that have achieved formal training qualifications over the year and through a series of nine major awards, recognises the industry’s top performers from across the lower South Island.
The industry is again expected to rally on the night. The last two years have brought together over 350 forest managers, forestry contractors, wood processing companies, transport operators and key suppliers to the industry from throughout the region to the awards evening at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.
“The turnout by forestry workers, their families and supporters on the night is probably a true reflection of the momentum that’s been building over the last few years with on-site training and safety in this region” says Brent Apthorp, Secretary of the Southern Wood Council. “In addition to celebrating the training achievements of forestry crews, many travelling into Dunedin, some driving 3-4 hours to attend past awards evenings have brought with them other workers to celebrate the year – and to recognise the success of forestry workers, crews and companies that have stood out over the past 12 months”.
A guest speaker at this year’s Awards evening is a young triathlete, Aaron Fleming. Aaron is a published author, an in-demand public speaker and an Ironman triathlete. Aaron Fleming has a chocka resume for a 34-year-old. He has recently been appointed as the Operations Director for DOC for the Southern South Island. He also has been a Sir Peter Blake Leader Award recipient, author of motivational book Purpose, multiple international Ironman athlete, New Zealand’s Olympic Games torchbearer, previous finalist for Young New Zealander of the Year and a television presenter. Further details can be found on the SWC website, www.southernwoodcouncil.co.nz.
If you’re from the Southland, Otago or North Otago regions, you should be there. It’s the largest gathering of the industry in the region by a long shot for the year. It’s also FREE to attend.
Further details are attached. For those wishing to attend, please download the attached invitation, fill it in and send back to us or go onto the SWC website, www.southernwoodcouncil.co.nz for more information on the evening.
Mobilising your forestry operationsIn just 10 years the ‘smartphone’ has become an essential part of our working and personal lives. We hear and see a lot of hype about the ‘next big thing’ in mobile devices, however, in reality, all we seem to get are incremental upgrades and new form factors.
Randall Cameron, Managing Director for Mobile Mentor will be providing an insight into work being done with local forestry companies using mobility to effectively switch from paper-based log docketing at the upcoming WoodFlow 2018 tech series being run for local forestry companies, contractors, planners and wood transport companies, in Melbourne on 20-21 June and then again in Rotorua on 26-27 June.
As a teaser, you can also join Randall at a forestry focused webinar the company has set up to discuss the challenges and opportunities that exist in mobilising your forest operations. The presenter, Randall Cameron, will be providing an educational and entertaining look into the mobile innovations that are in place today within the Forest Industry.
It’s being run on Wednesday 30 May at 12.00pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time). Click here for the Webinar Landing Page.
Responsible Wood wins Gold awardA Gold medal award in an international branding competition has added to the Australia-wide success of the Responsible Wood campaign. The Responsible Wood logo won best brand and best design agency in the Oceania region in the 5th International Best Brands contest, which honours excellence in design around the world.
Since Australian Forestry Standard changed its name to Responsible Wood in November last year – reflecting a clear consumer-focused strategy – the organisation reports a widespread ‘pick-up’ of the new brand by all sections of the forest and forest products industry, including architects, designers, specifiers and builders along the value-added chain.
“The campaign is moving forward, raising the profile of the organisation and delivering greater benefits for those who participate in the Responsible Wood system,” CEO Simon Dorries said. “The campaign’s advancement will see the appointment of a dedicated marketing and communications officer with responsibilities to include face-to-face contact with industry stakeholders around Australia,” he said.
“Responsible Wood activities are mounting as acceptance of our sustainability and certification credentials widen and a round of major standards revisions gets under way.” Mr Dorries said the revised standards would introduce new opportunities for innovation and technology in the sector where there was a genuine acceptance of the advantages of certified wood products. During the PEFC half-yearly meeting in Geneva, a presentation of the new Responsible Wood branding and marketing campaign by Simon Dorries won high acclaim from international delegates.
Responsible Wood brand designer Gary Schmidt, a director, Loa Branding, said: “We’re extremely proud of the process we shared, and outcome we arrived at – a symbol showing timber being protected, transformed and renewed, in a timeless form that suggests authority and strength. We couldn’t be prouder that the Responsible Wood brand has received this international recognition”.
Adding to the support of the Responsible Wood brand, Brisbane-based Finlayson Timber and Hardware says certification to Australian standards for forest management “from the year go” has been the linchpin to the success of the family’s business in both domestic and export markets.
“The seismic shift to ‘green building’ and the concerns we have noted, and rightly so, among consumers, architects, designers and builders about timber legality and sustainability makes support of timber certification a ‘no-brainer’ for us,” company director Michael Finlayson said. Finlayson’s was one of the first timber sawmiller-merchants to embrace the Australian Forestry Standard scheme from its beginning.
“Now we continue this commitment through the re-named Responsible Wood program for forest management and chain-of-custody, which has had a positive impact on our trading success,” Mr Finlayson said.
Opportunities for Australian forestry studentsOneFortyOne Plantations is offering a variety of vacation and graduate employment opportunities and scholarships for forestry students. These include academic scholarships covering all education-related expenses for the successful applicants. OneFortyOne primarily operates in the Green Triangle region of South-West Victoria and South-East South Australia.
Read further details about the opportunities here
Source: The News Mill, VAFI
Te Uru Rakau enters Manuka partnershipTe Uru Rakau will partner with Manuka Farming New Zealand to plant 1.8 million Manuka trees across New Zealand this year, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced.
“This Government has a target to get one billion trees in the ground over the next ten years and doing that will require innovation and genuine partnerships with the private sector, local councils, iwi and NGOs,” Shane Jones said.
“Te Uru Rakau will provide up to NZ$1.8 million to Manuka Farming New Zealand to source seedlings, work with landowners to undertake site assessments to assess land suitability and provide an overall planting plan.
“Seedlings will then be provided free of charge to landowners who proceed with planting. Individual assessments to assess land suitability for establishing Manuka plantations will take place this month and next and planting will occur from July to September.
“Manuka is a valued native forest species and plantations can help prevent erosion as well as providing diversified income streams and environmentally sustainable land-use options for landowners.
“Products from Manuka, such as honey and oil, are in high and increasing demand both domestically and globally. The planting plan will take into account the suitability of available land for production of Manuka honey, readiness for planting this winter, and availability of suitable Manuka cultivars.
“Manuka Farming New Zealand will purchase most of the seedlings from Kauri Park Nurseries and already has 100,000 seedlings available. “Landowners will need to cover the costs of dispatching the seedlings from the nursery, pest and weed control, fencing if required, planting costs and post-plant monitoring.
“In order to ensure the best possible delivery of outcomes, the approach also includes the funding of initial consultancy services to landowners via Manuka Farming New Zealand.
“This will include confirmation of sites suitable for Manuka, ensuring effective pest control is in place, land preparation can be completed in time for planting, seedlings are matched to the available site and confirmation that labour for planting is available,” Shane Jones said.
Landowners who are interested in this initiative should contact Manuka Farming New Zealand directly.
Australia’s plantations going backwardsFederal Government figures released yesterday showing a continuing decline in Australia’s plantation timber estate, should be a wakeup call for policy makers, according to Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton.
The ABARES report graphically shows the decline in available timber for domestic processing and continues a troubling trajectory of several years. The Australian plantation statistics 2018 update released by ABARES shows that in 2016-17, Australia’s total commercial plantation area was 1,955,100 hectares, down 19,700 or 1 per cent.
“This is a crisis”, said Mr Hampton. “Nowhere in the world is there large-scale tree planting without government policy backing. We urgently need to grow to about 2.4 million hectares if we are to keep pace with housing growth and ensure the viability of our mills and processing plants and the towns they underpin”.
“We already import the timber used to frame about 60,000 houses a year. We have a constant deficit in wood products as a nation of about AU$2 billion. For a nation with ample land and expertise this is a travesty. Plantations use about half a per cent of agricultural land. Adding another 400,000 hectares would take that to about 0.6 per cent.”.
“AFPA welcomes the AU$20 million set out in last week’s Federal Budget towards the Federal Government’s National Forestry Industry Plan, but it is unclear yet just how the Government plans to generate a new round of tree planting. Industry presumes this will be addressed in the release of the full plan later this year.
“Without more trees to support our sawmilling, processing and pulp, paper and packaging businesses, and the jobs they provide, everything else we do is just skirting the real issue,” Mr Hampton concluded.
ABARES; Australian plantation statistics 2018 update can be found here
Sites being assessed for new hardwood millThe Hermal Group’s plantation hardwood mill and timber product manufacturing facility planned for Tasmania is expected to employ about 200 people when it is fully operational. The Melbourne-based Hermal Group announced in January it would go ahead with its timber mill somewhere in the Burnie area.
“It is true we have selected the site, but I can’t give you any details about the site at this stage,” Hermal Group senior manager of special projects James Lantry told the Advocate.
The company is believed to have considered a range of sites in the Burnie area. There have been signs of activity at the expected Hampshire site. Hampshire would make sense because of its proximity to Forico’s timber resource. Choosing it would also avoid the potential difficulties of constructing and running an industrial operation in or near a heavily populated area.
Forico, Tasmania’s biggest private forestry management company, will supply most of the timber for the mill. It said the project would involve Australia’s biggest “sustainable plantation-based hardwood mill” and the nation’s biggest hardwood timber products manufacturing plant.
Construction was expected to start later this year and to be complete by about mid-2020. The mill would be a significant economic boost for Burnie and the wider region.
Source: The Advocate
Canadians work together to improve forestry safetyThe CEO of the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC), Rob Moonen, and the President and CEO of FPInnovations, Stéphane Renou, have announced that the two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work collaboratively on enhancing safety performance in the forest industry by sharing leading, innovative scientific and technical applications.
Under the MOU, individual projects and financial support agreements for specific activities will be identified through consultation between the two parties, with FPInnovations providing research expertise and non-proprietary technical resources or materials to assist the BCFSC in improving or expanding the support it provides to the forest industry to reduce serious injuries and fatalities.
Examples that are currently underway include a steep slope harvesting calculator, feller buncher rollover analysis, fatigue and distraction technologies, a winch-assist harvester best practice manual and body cams for fallers.
About the BCFSC The British Columbia Forest Safety Council is a not-for-profit health and safety association (HSA) for forest harvesting, sawmills and pellet manufacturing in British Columbia. The organization is directed by industry and provides training, information, guidance, safety advisor advocacy, safety reviews and audits to industry. The focus is on preventing fatalities and injuries by supporting industry participants implement best practice performance. Safety is good business. See www.bcforestsafe.org.
About FPInnovations FPInnovations is a not-for-profit leader that specializes in the creation of scientific solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness and responds to the priority needs of its industry members and government partners. FPInnovations’ R&D laboratories are located in Québec City, Montréal and Vancouver, and it has technology transfer offices across Canada. For more information about FPInnovations, visit: www.fpinnovations.ca
Record profit for Sumitomo Forestry's NZ unitSumitomo Forestry NZ, the local unit of the Japanese timber conglomerate, posted a record profit last year after buying the timber plantations of US forestry investor Hancock in 2016 to secure more supply for its wood processing plant.
The timber company posted a profit of $48.9 million in the year ended Dec. 31, 2017, from a loss of $18.4 million a year earlier when its earnings were hurt by a $62 million reduction in the value of its plantations, according to its latest financial accounts.
Sumitomo's 2016 accounts included nine months of contribution from Hancock's Tasman Pine Forests which it bought for $369 million. Sumitomo’s NZ forests were valued at about $310 million in 2017, up from $296 million in 2016 and just $24 million in 2015, its accounts showed.
Sumitomo set up wood processor Nelson Pine Industries outside of Richmond, near Nelson, some three decades ago. The plant is one of the world’s largest single-site medium-density fibreboard (MDF) makers, most of which is exported under the GoldenEdge brand, and it also manufactures laminated veneer lumber (LVL).
The company already had about 5,000 hectares of forest and the Hancock purchase gave it freehold interest in about 20,437 hectares of forest land and leasehold interest in about 155 hectares of forest land in the Nelson/Tasman region.
For Sumitomo, securing supply of wood helped shore up its existing investment in manufacturing at a time when increased demand from China has been pushing up the price of logs and prompting many forest owners to ship their raw logs to Asia's largest economy.
Globally, wood is seeing somewhat of a resurgence, and Sumitomo is jumping on the trend, announcing plans earlier this year to build the world's tallest wooden skyscraper, dubbed the W350, in Tokyo. The planned 70-storey building will be a hybrid of mostly wood and steel and will include stores, offices, hotels and private homes.
The company's New Zealand unit didn't pay a dividend to its parent this year, or last year, according to its accounts. They show the last dividend payment of $46.5 million was paid in the 2015 financial year.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... the Royal footmen
With the Royal wedding planned for this weekend (so I've been told) thought this one appropriate.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend and for the Royalists out
there, you'll be raring to fix that Tiara in place, grab your flag and sit
down with a gin and tonic or glass of bubbly on Saturday evening.
Enjoy the nuptials. Cheers.
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