ONE hundred Mary Valley timber workers have been told their futures are secure after Hyne announced it had sold off its Imbil and Melawondi operations in the Mary Valley yesterday.
Hyne sold the Mary Valley mills to Superior Wood Pty Ltd, a company associated with the Finlayson Group for an undisclosed sum.
Hyne chief executive officer Jon Kleinschmidt said all staff were being transferred to Superior Wood Pty Ltd, with all positions, conditions and entitlements maintained as a condition of the sale.
"This amalgamation of the Mary Valley operations with Superior Wood's value adding and marketing expertise is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the industry as a whole," Mr Kleinschmidt said.
"Hyne will now focus on its core businesses of structural softwood timber production and distribution, continuing to thrive for the benefit of customers, staff, shareholders and the communities in which they work."
Hyne Chairman Martin Kriewaldt said the focus on core business had been made necessary by changing business conditions.
"The Australian timber industry has been adversely affected by a number of external forces including a downturn in construction activity, high exchange rates and strong import competition.
"Hyne has not been immune from these pressures," Mr Kriewaldt said.
"A number of hard decisions have been taken by the company in recent years.
"To stay efficient and competitive we need to concentrate on our strengths, and that's what we're doing."
Hyne family member Chris Hyne said the decision to sell the Mary Valley business was hard to reach.
"Hyne has invested heavily in the development and production of Araucaria as a plantation species and high quality timber, particularly in the Mary Valley," Mr Hyne said.
"Since 1882 Hyne has been instrumental in the development of the Queensland timber industry and have a long history of involvement in Araucaria.
"We will continue to strive to be the supply partner of first choice for our customers."
Mr Kleinschmidt said the sale to Superior Wood would enable development of an alternate business model to best utilise the unique properties of Araucaria timber.
"The Finlayson Group has a track record of investing in Araucaria production in the form of high tech value adding technology, product innovation and development of channels to market," Mr Kleinschmidt said.
Superior Wood Director Skene Finlayson said he was confident the Araucaria industry would benefit from the amalgamation of the Mary Valley operations with existing Group operations.
"Our focus is in value adding and remanufacturing of the Araucaria product, and the additional sawmill capacity will provide new opportunities to expand and improve our product range," Mr Finlayson said.
"We are pleased to offer all the existing staff their jobs under the same terms and conditions they have been entitled to while working for Hyne, and I'll be mindful of minimising the impact of the change.
Mr Finlayson also acknowledged the outstanding contribution both the Hyne family and their staff had made to the Araucaria sector over many generations.
"I look forward to working closely with the Mary Valley team and supporting their efforts."