Portfolio to pine for

January 30, 2004

Harvard University is believed to be willing to bid for large holdings of pine and hardwood plantations in Australia that the New South Wales Labor government is preparing to put on the market.

The university has already bought 162,000 hectares of forest in New Zealand. It is now understood to be interested in purchasing the almost 202,350 hectares of pine and some 70,000 acres of hardwood plantations in Australia with investments from its $19 billion (£10.4 billion) endowment fund.

The NSW plantations have a book value of more than A$1 billion (£422 million), but the Australian Financial Review reported they were expected to sell for about A$700 million. A Harvard spokesman declined to comment.

The Harvard endowment fund is run internally by the Harvard Management Company. The top five managers were paid $75 million collectively in 2002.

Australia's entire higher education annual budget is less than half of Harvard's endowment fund.

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