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May '99 Headlines

SAWMILLING SURVEY: Companies slim down but stay in the race

The May edition of the Southern Hemisphere Forest Industry Journal features the annual Survey of the Sawmilling Sector
Southern Hemisphere sawmilling has returned from a nightmare year with margins slimmer and increased competition.
After the shock of Asian economic downturn, milling companies adapted to tighter markets and increased but is still running hard to keep up with the competition.
Summaries are provided of country-by-country performance and details are provided of company developments.


  • Kiwi millers fight back from Asian shock
  • Key changes in Australian sawmilling
  • Economic troubles dog South African sawmilling
  • Chilean millers hope signs are right for an upswing
  • Argentine milling companies upgrading

We focus on Uruguay, the small South American country which has been the centre of much interest internationally. As well as providing background on the country, we focus particularly on the solid wood manufacturing sector.


South Africa:

  • The Government has set the ball rolling on the sale of a huge plantation forest resource.
  • The Government’s controversial pay-for-rain scheme may be scuttled by changes following the general election.
  • Sappi Forests has become the first South African forestry company to gain ISO 14001 certification.


  • Weyerhaeuser of the US has taken another step forward in its fibre bank strategy with the purchase of mills and resource belonging to Australian company, CSR Ltd.
  • BP has entered into an agreement with the Western Australian government agency, CALM, to explore the feasibility of tree plantations for carbon sequestration.
  • Paper-maker Amcor hopes a new machine launched at Maryvale will help combat imported products.


  • The future role of New Zealand’s Fletcher Challenge Ltd in Chile is unclear, as the company restructures its investments, including exiting a forest-owning company and taking full control of a paper company.
  • Masisa, one of South America’s largest panel and board-makers, has been hit by lower construction activity but is hoping for more positive market news in the current financial year.
  • International Paper, owner of New Zealand’s Carter Holt Harvey, has debuted in its own right in Chile, with the purchase of a local packaging company.

New Zealand:

  • A performance programme is aimed at helping Carter Holt Harvey overcome the financial impacts of tougher economic times in key markets.
  • Rayonier NZ, an offshoot of the US-based Rayonier Inc., has forged an alliance with a Maori tribal trust to manage a forest.
  • The Rotorua District Council has launched a forestry access database it hopes will help attract overseas companies wanting to invest in the region.



The market news is much more positive than it has been for almost a year, with responses to our survey signaling that prices are being pushed up. Margins remain narrow, however.


The Southern Hemisphere Pine Price Index is the average of all prices for pine lumber across the main forestry countries of the South. Available to subscribers.


Southern Hemisphere Forestry

Postal Address: P.O Box 6215,
Whakarewarewa - Rotorua - 3220 - New Zealand.

Street Address: 5 High Street,
Rotorua - 3201 - New Zealand.

Phone: ++64 7 349 4107 - Fax:++64 7 349 4157
Mobile:025 927 158 .

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