Australia's Linx Cargo Care to buy wood processor Pedersen Group

Logging truck and timber for export at Wellington port. Photo by Lynn Grieveson

Sydney-based Linx Cargo Care Group is planning to buy wood processor Pedersen Group for an undisclosed amount.

The two have entered into a conditional purchase agreement and expect the deal to be completed in mid-August, Linx said in a statement. Rotorua-based Pedersen, owned by private equity firm Maui Capital, services the Kinleith and Kawerau mills in New Zealand, Norske Skog's pulp mill in New South Wales, the Maryvale paper mill in Melbourne and the Vanua Levu chip plant in Fiji.

The companies wouldn't comment on the purchase price but in the year ended March 31, 2017, a Maui company valued its 64 percent stake in Pedersen at $23.6 million, accounts filed to the Companies Office show. That implies a value of $36.9 million for the whole company at the time.

Linx operates across Australia and New Zealand. Its C3 business specialises in forestry logistics and operates in 13 ports in New Zealand, and has an existing joint venture with Pedersen for wood yard management.

Pedersen Group will continue to operate independently under the Pedersen brand following the completion of the acquisition, and all 140 Pedersen employees will be retained by the new owner, the companies said.

"The acquisition of Pedersen Group by Linx Cargo Care Group will provide long-term stability for our employees and customers, and the operational and financial capacity to allow our business to pursue its growth aspirations," Pedersen Group chief executive Gavin Hudson said.

Anthony Jones, group chief executive for Linx and chair of C3, said the acquisition would help Linx improve its services to forest owners and wood processing businesses and extend its global reach.