Australian timber company Gunns appoints administrators

SYDNEY, Sept 25 Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:03pm EDT

SYDNEY, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Australian timber company Gunns Ltd will appoint voluntary administrators on Tuesday after failing to raise fresh equity or agree a reprieve with lenders.

Gunns has been on a trading halt since March as it tried to raise A$400 million ($416.90 million) after New Zealand-born billionaire Richard Chandler pulled out of a $302 million restructuring plan.

Gunns said its lenders, led by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, would not lend it funds needed to meet its operational and working capital requirements.

"As a result, the company is unable to continue trading and the directors are in the process of appointing an administrator," Gunns said in a statement.

The Tasmania-based company reported a A$903 million loss in the year to June after writing down the value of its forestry and pulp mill assets. The company listed total liabilities of A$879 million and assets of A$903.5 million as at June 30.

Environmentalists had long opposed Gunn's proposed A$2.3 billion pulp mill project in Bell Bay, near Launceston. ($1 = 0.9595 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Michael Urquhart) (Lincoln.Feast@thomsonreuters.com)

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