Coveney says no Coillte sale before assets are valued
No decision on the possible sale of Coillte's standing forests will be taken until a full valuation of the State body's assets has been completed, the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, told the Dáil last week.
Minister Coveney said a valuation of Coillte's assets was currently being undertaken by the New ERA unit of the National Treasury Management Agency, in conjunction with the departments of Agriculture and Public Expenditure and Reform.
The minister insisted that no decision on whether to proceed with the privatisation would be made until the valuation process was completed.
Department sources would not comment on a time-frame for completing the valuation.
Minister Coveney also confirmed that a short presentation on the role of Coillte and the issues that might arise from any disposal of assets was given to the EU-IMF Troika during their recent visit.
The decision to sell much of Coillte's standing forests, while retaining ownership of its 442,000ha land bank, is part of the privatisation package that is being introduced as part of the EU-IMF bailout.
Doubts have been expressed in some quarters regarding the wisdom of the move given that Coillte currently employs 1,100 staff and is a major player in all areas of forestry, timber production and other ancillary businesses.