BARAGA COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Seattle based Weyerhaeuser Company sold 555,000 acres of U.P. timberland to an affiliate of The Lyme Timber Company for $300 million in cash.
"When we learned that there was a possibility of acquiring the Weyerhaeuser lands we jumped on the opportunity because we had always regarded it as very well managed land with a very high caliber team of foresters," said Jim Hourdequin, CEO of The Lyme Timber Company.
The New Hampshire based Lyme Timber Company had been looking into purchasing land in the U.P. for the past 8 years. Lyme's operations in the U.P., which are already underway, will be similar to Weyerhaeuser’s.
"We do anticipate a modest reduction in harvest levels from Weyerhaeuser’s in recent years, but these are very productive lands that can continue to support ongoing timber harvesting," added Hourdequin.
Timber investment management organizations package large areas of land like this and the investment ends up in many retirement portfolios.
"Those packages of investments end up in pension funds and you may own part of one of these packages already in part of your retirement fund. That provides a large amount of security for those who have pensions knowing that those assets are there," said Robert Froese, an associate professor of forestry at Michigan Tech University.
With the purchase of the land, Lyme Timber has future plans for conservation opportunities.
"One of our competencies as an organization is structuring working force conservation easements. These are easements that permanently extinguish development and sub-division, and create greater public recreational access," said Hourdequin.
Lyme is expected to keep the former Weyerhaeuser employees who have managed the land, which sustains a mix of hardwood and softwood acres.