• Hancock Timber Acquires 1.35 Million Acres in Louisiana, Oregon, Idaho and Washington
  • Molpus Acquires 535,000 Acres in Minnesota, Louisiana and Idaho

The Hancock Timber Resource Group and Molpus Woodlands Group have purchased the 1.88 million acre timberland portfolio of Forest Capital Partners, the companies said today.

Terms of the transaction, which closed today, were not disclosed.

Hancock Timber is acquiring 376,000 acres in Louisiana, 573,000 acres in Oregon, 138,000 acres in Idaho and 264,000 acres in Washington.

Molpus is acquiring 286,000 acres in Minnesota, 110,000 acres in Louisiana and 138,000 acres in Idaho.

As part of the transaction, the vast majority of Forest Capital Partners’ employees associated with the timberlands will be merged into operations of the respective new managers, the Hancock Timber Resource Group or the Molpus Woodlands Group.

“We are very pleased to acquire this large portfolio of timberlands. They are a natural fit for our clients and Hancock Timber—highly productive and well-managed by a company that, like us, places a strong emphasis on environmental stewardship. We look forward to continuing to manage these lands on a sustainable basis as working forests as well as maintaining the jobs associated with them,” said Hancock Timber Resource Group president Dan Christensen. “We welcome our new colleagues into the organization and embrace their skills and experiences as well as their institutional knowledge of the timberlands they have been managing.”

“This portfolio’s timberlands are intensively managed, highly productive, and ideally situated near timber markets with competitive pricing. With the opportunity to partner on this transaction, we are able to provide key assets to our clients, which we will oversee from new forestry offices in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and International Falls, Minnesota. We continue to be committed to the sound forestry stewardship practices historically associated with these properties,” said Molpus Woodlands Group president Dick Molpus. “We will keep our focus on client objectives, and we look forward to working with new colleagues, employing innovative management and technologies towards sustainable forestry.”

“This transaction is a highly innovative outcome for both our investors and our employees, and provides continued outstanding stewardship for the forests and forest communities alike,” said Forest Capital Partners co-president Matt Donegan.

“We are very pleased to complete this transaction and ensure a smooth transition for our employees who will continue to diligently manage these forests,” said Forest Capital Partners co-president Scott Jones.

He added that a small number of senior staff will remain with Forest Capital Partners to manage oil and gas assets retained on approximately 250,000 acres in Louisiana and to develop other opportunities.

Mr. Christensen and Mr. Molpus said that all of Forest Capital Partners’ timberlands are third-party certified as sustainably managed and that both organizations intend to maintain the certification. All of Hancock Timber’s timberlands in North America, Australia and New Zealand are third-party certified. All of Molpus Woodland Group’s timberlands are third-party certified as well.

Greenhill & Co., LLC acted as exclusive financial adviser to Hancock Timber Resource Group and Molpus Woodlands Group on this transaction.

About The Hancock Timber Resource Group

The Hancock Timber Resource Group, founded in 1985, is a division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc., an operating company of Manulife Asset Management. Based in Boston, it manages approximately 6.6 million acres of timberland across the United States and in Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and Australia on behalf of investors worldwide. Additional information about Hancock Timber may be found at hancocktimber.com. All of the Hancock Timber Resource Group’s timberlands in the U.S. are managed by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hancock Forest Management.

About Manulife Asset Management

Manulife Asset Management™ is the global asset management arm of Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corporation. Manulife Asset Management provides comprehensive asset management solutions for institutional investors and investment funds in key markets around the world. Manulife Asset Management also provides investment management services to affiliates’ retail clients through product offerings of Manulife and John Hancock. This investment expertise extends across a full range of asset classes including equity, fixed income and alternative investments such as real estate, timber, farmland, as well as asset allocation strategies. Manulife Asset Management has offices with full investment capabilities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. In addition, it has a joint venture asset management business in China, Manulife TEDA. It also has operations in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Uruguay. John Hancock Asset Management, Hancock Natural Resource Group and Declaration Management and Research are units of Manulife Asset Management. Manulife Asset Management was named a 2011 Bond Manager of the Year finalist in the United States by Money Management Intelligence (MMI) and Best Asian Bond House by Asia Asset Management. As at March 31, 2012, assets under management were US$220 billion. Additional information about Manulife Asset Management may be found at ManulifeAM.com.

About The Molpus Woodlands Group, LLC

The Molpus Woodlands Group, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor, was founded in 1996 as a Timber Investment Management Organization (TIMO) and has a company legacy dating back to 1905. With its sister operating company, Molpus Timberlands Management, LLC (collectively, Molpus), Molpus is one of the oldest timber-related companies in the nation, with experience in all facets of timber management, manufacturing, and marketing. Molpus is one of the few TIMOs that have all of their core businesses and forestry functions handled or supervised by in-house experts.

Molpus employs seventy-eight people in its fifteen offices located in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, and Oklahoma. Molpus acquires, manages, and sells timberland as an investment vehicle for pension funds, college endowments, foundations, insurance companies, and high net-worth individual investors. Molpus Woodlands Group was selected as 2011 Real Asset Manager of the Year at the Money Management Intelligence magazine’s 11th Annual Public Pension Fund Awards. The company focuses on ensuring long-term optimal cash returns on investments while practicing responsible forest stewardship. Molpus currently manages approximately 1.5 million acres of timberland investments located in seventeen states.

About Forest Capital Partners, LLC

Forest Capital Partners makes natural resource investments on behalf of a select group of institutional investors who seek capital preservation, current income, and long-term asset appreciation by investing in high quality natural resource assets that are managed using sophisticated strategies. Visit forestcap.com for additional information.