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Rayonier (RYN) Buys Timberlands in U.S. South for $454 Million

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Rayonier Inc. (RYN - Free Report) recently closed its earlier announced acquisitions of high-quality commercial timberlands from Manulife Investment Management, a leading timberland investment manager, for $454 million. The move is in sync with the company’s efforts to enhance scale and portfolio quality.

These timberlands, spanning 137,800 acres, are situated across Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, four of the strongest U.S. South timber markets.

The latest buyout was funded through cash on hand and proceeds from incremental borrowings through the Farm Credit System. All of the acquisitions consist of fee ownership.

Rayonier anticipates an average annual harvest volume of nearly 725,000 tons and an average annual adjusted EBITDA from timberland operations over the next 10 years to be almost $23 million.

The lumber production and capacity in the U.S. South have grown substantially over the past few years. Given that 73% of RYN’s Southern timberlands are located in the top quartile markets, it is well-positioned to benefit from its timberland portfolio in some of the most productive timber-growing regions of the United States South.

Moreover, the timberland REIT’s business has significantly benefited from the recent developments in the field of biogenetics and cloning that have led to faster growth in trees, thus ensuring proper sizes for maximum extraction of wood.

Over the past few years, Rayonier has completed several strategic acquisitions to enhance the quality and expand its portfolio. In February 2022, it announced the acquisition of 66,800 acres in Texas and Georgia from Nuveen Natural Capital. The purchase price, before transaction costs, was $124.2 million.

Further, RYN’s solid balance-sheet position and ample financial flexibility poise it well to capitalize on future growth opportunities.

Shares of RYN, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), have gained 11.2% in the quarter-to-date period compared with its industry’s growth of 8.6%.

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Other Stocks to Consider

Some other top-ranked stocks from the REIT sector are VICI Properties (VICI - Free Report) , Lamar Advertising (LAMR - Free Report) and Chatham Lodging Trust REIT (CLDT - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for VICI Properties’ current-year FFO per share is pegged at $1.92.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Lamar Advertising’s 2022 FFO per share is pegged at $7.34.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Chatham Lodging Trust’s ongoing year’s FFO per share is pegged at $1.17.

Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represent funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.

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