7 February 2006

South Africa: Bonheur Pulls Out of Komatiland Forestry Deal

Johannesburg — GOVERNMENT's efforts to sell its Komatiland forestry assets suffered another setback yesterday when the Bonheur consortium said it was pulling out of the deal.

The Competition Tribunal, which was considering the matter, said yesterday that a legal representative of the consortium told the tribunal's hearings in Pretoria yesterday that the matter should be withdrawn.

Bonheur consists of Global Forest Products and Imbokodva Lemabalabala.

Bonheur director Moses Molefi said yesterday that stiff resistance from other forestry companies and trade unions had influenced the decision.

Molefi said the sale of the Komatiland assets to Bonheur was a good deal, as it would have resulted in transfer of ownership of the assets to rural communities in Mpumalanga.

Molefi said Imbokodva Lemabalabala was considering its future and the group was still hopeful of concluding a forestry deal in the future.

The proposed sale of Komatiland assets to Bonheur first hit a snag when the Competition Commission rejected it.

The commission said it would lessen competition in the saw-timber market in SA.

Public enterprises department spokeswoman Gaynor Kast said yesterday that the department would issue a statement later this week on the matter.

Londoloza-Paharpur is government's reserve bidder.

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