Saturday, April 28, 2007

MWV to Announce Plans for SC Timberland

According to Columbia's "TheState.com", MeadWestvaco will be announcing it's long awaited plans for 400,000 acres of timberland in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. This article, and another in the Charleston Post and Courier, reported on a Friday briefing by John Luke, MWV's CEO, in North Charleston which included key people from SC's state government, agencies, conservation groups and community leaders. Details of the plan were not announced at the meeting.

"Spokeswoman Donna Cox said she could not answer questions about the property’s future. 'We are going to announce the details of this plan with our earnings call mid-week next week,' Cox said Friday." That conference call is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

The following is an extract from the Post and Courier:
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But the fate of the rest of its holdings has sparked anxiety about growth and development in the Lowcountry. MeadWestvaco owns about 145,000 acres on the outskirts of the greater metro area, land that for decades has acted as a passive growth boundary west of Charleston and to the north of Goose Creek.

The uncertainty escalated last fall when a top MeadWestvaco executive suggested that the company was considering selling some or all of its remaining acreage in the United States, telling a group of investors: "We believe there is significant value to be unlocked in this asset."
Conservation advocates have been fretting ever since that some or all of the company's local property will be put up for grabs, opening it up to home builders or large-scale commercial real estate developers.

That was not the message Luke gave at Friday's meeting.

The person who attended said the fact that the CEO traveled to Charleston to deliver it in person, however vague, gave some weight to the matter, considering the audience.
"You don't go calling in people who sit on boards and staffers from Columbia to Charleston and pledge to put conservation as your highest priority and then go back on your word," the attendee said.

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Read the articles from "The State" and the "Post and Courier"

According to MeadWestvaco: "The live conference call and presentation slides may be accessed on MeadWestvaco’s website at www.meadwestvaco.com. After connecting to the home page, look for the link to Investor Information, then Financial Calendar, to access the webcast. Go to the website at least one hour prior to the call to register, download and install any necessary audio software."

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