Leading Manager Of Timberland For Institutional Investors Strengthens Global Position In Marketplace
BOSTON, (July 12, 2005 )-The Hancock Timber Resource Group (HTRG) today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Prudential Timber Investments, Inc. (PruTimber), the timberland investment management unit of Prudential Financial, Inc. Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, were not disclosed.
With the acquisition, HTRG will assume management responsibility for PruTimber's approximately 450,000 acres of timberland worth approximately $660 million. The transaction will bring HTRG's total acreage and assets under management to approximately 2.5 million acres and $3.1 billion.
"We regard this acquisition as another significant step forward for the Hancock Timber Resource Group," said Dan Christensen, HTRG's president. "We look forward to welcoming new clients and are excited by the opportunity to increase our assets under management by nearly 25 percent. This significant increase in assets under management will provide additional economies of scale which ultimately will benefit our investors. In addition, we strengthen our property portfolio, increasing our acreage in the Southern United States, more than doubling our acreage in New Zealand and adding new acreage in South America."
The assets currently managed by PruTimber include nearly 235,000 acres in the Southern U.S., more than 20,000 acres in Hawaii and nearly 150,000 acres in New Zealand, (which will bring HTRG's Australasia acreage under management to more than 850,000 acres). The acquisition also will mark HTRG's entry into South America with the addition of nearly 45,000 acres of timberlands in Brazil.
"In a global economy, we believe that having access to timber markets around the world will provide excellent long-term opportunities for our clients," Mr. Christensen said.
HTRG expects the integration of the companies to be seamless, with most of PruTimber's employees joining HTRG. It is anticipated that John Lord, PruTimber's CEO, will provide consulting services to HTRG to facilitate the transition before pursuing other interests.
All HTRG timberlands that will be managed by Hancock Forest Management (HTRG's property management subsidiary), including PruTimber assets, will be certified for environmentally sound and sustainable forest management under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry InitiativeŽ (SFI) standards.
"PruTimber has managed these properties well and this will continue under Hancock Timber's stewardship," Mr. Christensen said. "We will continue to manage the forests with a long-term, sustainable perspective that benefits the environment as well as our clients. We believe good stewardship is good business."
HTRG, a division of the Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc, an operating company of MFC Global Investment Management, manages timberland in the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast United States as well as Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Additional information about HTRG may be found at its website: www.hancocktimber.com
MFC Global Investment Management is the institutional asset management arm of Manulife Financial Corporation. Based in North America with investment offices in Toronto, Boston, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, the firm has more than 100 years of experience managing funds. Additional information about MFC Global Investment Management may be found at its website: http://www.mfcglobal.com
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$350 billion (US$290 billion) as at March 31, 2005.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '0945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com