MeadWestvaco selling U.S. forestlands
MeadWestvaco Corporation announced Tuesday they intend to sell all of their U.S. forestlands to Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc.
As a part of the agreement, Plum Creek will also enter into a partnership with the MeadWestvaco development properties in the Charleston area.
In total the deal is about $1.1 billion. The company said after paying off debts they will return the rest of the funds, about $665 million (roughly two-thirds of the total funds), to their shareholders.
The lands total 501,000 acres and are located in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
According to the press release, the deal is expected to close before the end of the year.
“We expect no change in terms of how the timberlands are managed in South Carolina,” said Ken Seeger, MeadWestvaco’s president of Community Development and Land.
Plum Creek is a Real Estate Investment Trust and is one of the largest landowners in the nation. As Seeger explained it, Plum Creek owns timberlands to grow trees and provide the fiber to mills.
“They’re in the business of owning land and having it for the long term, just the way MeadWestvaco has always done,” he said.
The two companies helped found the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and are known for their environmentally friendly practices.
Starting in 2007, MeadWestvaco has been selling the timberlands “it no longer needed,” Seeger said. After the sale is complete, MeadWestvaco will no longer own any timberlands in the United States.
They will, however, continue to own 109,000 acres of land in the Charleston area for all of the company’s development projects.
“I don’t think it will have any impact on the people of the Summerville area,” he said.
Seeger said the sale will allow the company to focus more on its developments, such as Nexton and East Edisto.
“We’re pleased with the transaction, I think it’s a real win-win, but more importantly, it’s a good outcome for the Charleston region.”