Sonoco sells 55K acres of timberlands in South Carolina

Hartsville, South Carolina-based packaging producer Sonoco Products Co. has sold approximately 55,000 acres of timberlands in South Carolina to Toronto-based financial services company Manulife Investment Management in a deal work $72 million.

Sonoco produces paper and packaging exclusively from recycled material and says it no longer requires virgin fiber for production.

“Through this sale, we are pleased to have the opportunity to maximize value for our shareholders while also ensuring that the property goes to a buyer that puts sustainable management at the forefront of its natural capital investment strategy,” Sonoco CEO Howard Coker says.

Sonoco bought a majority of its timberland acreage from Atlanta-based paper and packaging company Georgia-Pacific in 1994 for about $5.9 million, according to The Post and Courier, which says Sonoco then purchased a smaller parcel from Oakland Hunt Club in 2004 for about $405,000.

The tree fiber primarily was used as feedstock for Sonoco’s Hartsville paper mill.

“Manulife Investment Management has extensive experience with these types of sustainable transactions and we feel confident that these lands will continue to be held in good stewardship,” Coker says.