Weyerhaeuser to Sell Timber Tracts
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Weyerhaeuser Co., the world’s largest lumber company, will sell 346,000 acres of timberland it acquired in three states when it bought Willamette Industries in 2001.
Weyerhaeuser of Federal Way, Wash., will sell all 174,000 acres it owns in Tennessee and all 122,000 acres it owns in South Carolina, company spokeswoman Susan Larkin said Wednesday.
Weyerhaeuser is selling about 50,000 acres in North Carolina. After the sales, the company still will own or manage some 552,000 acres of timberland in North Carolina.
The land is covered mainly in pine and spans from north of Spartanburg to Bennettsville, S.C., and from south of Greensboro to Lumberton in North Carolina. The Tennessee lands are in the state’s south-central region, said Larkin, who is based in Fort Mill, S.C.
While the sale involves a large number of acres, it would reduce Weyerhaeuser’s land holdings in the United States by less than 5 percent. The company owns 7.5 million acres in the United States and manages 50 million acres.
``We are buying and selling small plots of land all the time,″ said Frank Mendizabal, a spokesmen at the company’s headquarters near Seattle. ``We think our timber portfolio is one of our most valuable assets.″
The land in the three states was designated for sale the moment Weyerhaeuser acquired Willamette, because it had little strategic value, Mendizabal said.
Weyerhaeuser has about 3,200 employees in North Carolina and 1,200 in South Carolina at 27 plants making lumber, boxes and pulp used by paper and furniture manufacturers.
Weyerhaeuser will be marketing the land amid a glut that has cut U.S. lumber prices 18 percent since the beginning of the year. Buyers for the land have not been lined up, Larkin said.
In afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Weyerhaeuser fell 10 cents to $48.38.