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Potlatch to buy land in Wisconsin

Wed., Dec. 20, 2006, midnight

Spokane-based Potlatch Corp. will buy 76,000 acres of forestland in Wisconsin in a $64.5 million sale expected to close early next year, officials announced Tuesday.

The hardwood forest, located in north-central Wisconsin, is owned by Tomahawk Timberlands LLC and Tomahawk Highlands LLC. The majority of the land is located less than five hours from Chicago and Minneapolis.

The land complements Potlatch’s other holdings in the Lake states, said Brent Stinnett, vice president of resource management. Potlatch also owns 310,000 acres in Michigan and operates two sawmills there. The company plans to continue working with current log customers but will also evaluate the land for future real estate sales.

Last week, the company announced that it expects to sell off 18 percent to 20 percent of its 1.5 million acres of timberland in Idaho, Minnesota and Arkansas during the next decade. With demand for recreational property rising, some parcels have become more valuable for cabins and trophy homes than growing trees, company officials said.

Potlatch put its timberlands into a real estate investment trust Jan. 1. The REIT is a more tax-efficient structure for buying and selling timberlands.

Mike Covey, Potlatch’s CEO, said the Wisconsin purchase is timed to help the company avoid a large tax bill on future sales of company land.


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