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SILSBEE, TX-A Jackson, MS-based timberland investment manager has followed through on a previously announced plan to spend $290 million for 463,000 acres of timberland in South Texas, the final transaction to a 935,000-acre disposition by Louisiana-Pacific Corp.

The land is located about 100 miles northeast of Houston near Beaumont. Molpus Woodlands Group bought the acreage on behalf of client, ETT LP, which is eyeing a 15-year hold or possibly longer.

Dick Molpus, president of the investment group, tells GlobeSt.com that there was significant competition to buy the tract because timberland has become a favored investment for large funds interested in diversifying assets. Molpus says the acreage contains Southern pine, which generally produces an investment return of 8% to 10%–a good return in today’s economic climate. The stand is a “blended tract” with less than 50% of the timber categorized as mature. As a result, the mix will provide a current cash flow yet ensure future profitability.

Molpus says a confidentiality agreement keeps him from discussing the financing in depth, but did say that the Portland, OR-based Louisiana-Pacific received $257 million in cash up front with the balance coming in installments. Molpus will manage the site from a forestry management office in Silsbee, as it does a surrounding 200,000 acres owned by its other clients. Molpus represents pension funds, insurance companies, endowments and high net-worth individuals.

In a press release, Mark A. Suwyn, Louisiana-Pacific’s chairman and CEO, says the sale ended the timberland divestiture program. “The total value achieved through this program will exceed the initial $700-million target by more than $50 million,” he says.

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