Media stories for March 09

27 March Gunns has informed the Australian Stock Exchange it has been unable to negotiate an increase in its woodchip price with Japanese buyers this year. A timber industry analyst says the entire sector will be affected by Gunns' stagnant woodchip price. Yahoo

19 March The woodchip pile at the Burnie wharf is at a record height, amid reports two export ships were recently turned around or diverted on their way to load at the port. Three forest contractors in the region have quit the industry in recent months. The Advocate

16 March Total pulp mill capacity could drop by as much as 3 million tons this year as mills in the U.S. and Europe are idled or closed and new mill projects are postponed, according to RISI, an information provider for the global forest products industry. High inventories and weak demand have sent packaging paper prices into free fall in Asia, and newsprint and containerboard prices are expected to remain soft throughout the year.

3 March Gunns' financial auditor KPMG has expressed doubts about its ability to raise financing for the pulp mill. "The outcomes of these negotiations (between Gunns and potential financial backers for the mill) cannot presently be determined with certainty in the the current global financial environment," wrote KPMG partner LC Franklin. Yet Gunns chief executive John Gay said it would announce a joint venture with a European investment bank for the mill before the end of next month. Gunns said it will not reach its projected $200 million in earnings for the financial year. It has blamed the earnings decrease on a 15 per cent reduction in wood sales as timber and pulp prices collapse because of the global financial crisis.