The acquisition adds approximately 1.45 million tons of merchantable timber to CatchMark's inventory and increases the share of higher value chip-n-saw and sawtimber in the company's product mix. Comprising 84% pine plantations by acreage and 54% sawtimber by tons, the Waycross-Panola properties are expected to add approximately 180,000 to 200,000 tons to CatchMark's annual harvest volumes over the next decade.
Jerry Barag, CatchMark's President and CEO, said: "The Waycross-Panola transaction will help augment the company's earnings in 2014 and should support dividend growth in years to come. We intend to make additional accretive acquisitions in the months ahead and are analyzing a healthy pipeline of potential opportunities to support our growth strategy. Our focus continues to be on mid-sized deals - 15,000 to 50,000 acres - located in the U.S. South where we see the best value opportunities today."
The Waycross-Panola properties are situated exclusively in the core U.S. South timber region in highly competitive wood markets, accessible to some of the best mill markets in the country, which will diversify CatchMark's customer base. The properties feature above-average productivity characteristics—the Waycross timberlands, in particular, register inventory growth rates approximately 50% higher than the average U.S. South timberlands. The Georgia properties are located near Baxley (Waycross) in the southeastern part of the state, and the East Texas properties are situated in and around Panola.
CatchMark Timber Trust, Inc. is a self-administered and self-managed publicly traded REIT that began operations in 2007 and owns interests in approximately 313,700 acres of timberland located in Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. CatchMark owns approximately 283,700 acres and leases approximately 30,000 additional acres from third parties.