In recent years huge timber companies have followed a trend to unload commercial forest lands. Now International Paper is the latest to seriously consider a sale.
International Paper has made a decision to focus only on 'uncoated papers' and industrial and consumer packaging. That choice means IP is now evaluating the sale or spin off of seven of its businesses including forest lands and wood products.
Company spokesman Rick Ouellette said, "Right now it's early in the process. It's strategy options that we're looking at that could possibly be the sell of segments of our forest lands or potentially all the 6.8 million acres we own."
According to Ouellette IP own in the Nacogdoches area 212,000 acres. In the Livingston area 232,000 acres. About 100 East Texans work for the IP forestry business. The impact the changes might have on these workers remains unclear. The company also provides business opportunities and services to many private landowners, manufacturers and haulers.
IP plans to evaluate the options over the next couple of years. Meanwhile, the company plans to operate the businesses without big changes.
We'll have more reaction to IP's business plans in the coming days.