NEW Forests' successful raising of $707 million for a second fund adds weight to suggestions it could be competing strongly to buy Forest Enterprises Australia, which is on the market through advisory firm Gresham, and potentially the Gunns portfolio.
New Forests has previously been named by sources as among the five groups in the contest to buy FEA.
The other four are international contenders, including US-based Campbell Group, GMO Renewable Resources, Global Forest Partners and Resource Management.
FEA was put on the market in December through Gresham and Deloitte, shortly after timber company Gunns came up for sale.
The sales price for the forestry business could be anywhere between $200m and $400m, sources said.
Initial bids closed last month for the 97,900ha of mature hardwood forests and 46,000ha of land in NSW, Queensland and Tasmania.
It is thought that the players competing to buy FEA would have also thrown their hat in the ring to buy the $400m-odd portfolio of Gunns forestry assets, which are being sold through investment bank Moelis and Korda Mentha.
New Forests would not comment on its interest in either of the offerings.