ArborGen Signs Agreement to Acquire World-Class Commercial Tree Operations



    ArborGen Grows into Global Full-Service Tree Company

    SUMMERVILLE, S.C., August 23 /CNW/ - ArborGen, LLC, a global leader in
tree improvement technologies, today announced its three owners have agreed to
contribute to ArborGen the respective U.S.-based nursery and seed orchard
businesses of International Paper and MeadWestvaco, and of Rubicon Limited in
New Zealand and Australia. The transaction is a significant step forward in
ArborGen's strategy for future growth and positions the company as a
full-service tree supplier to the global forestry industry.

    These transactions add world-leading production, sales and distribution
operations to ArborGen's present position as a leading tree biotechnology
company and bring an extensive customer base with over 350 million annual tree
stock sales and combined revenues of over $25 million, along with a pipeline
of world-class elite pine and hardwood germplasm. Important synergies will be
realized through combining in excess of 50 years of tree improvement know-how
and expertise.

    The operations now include the nursery and seed businesses, including
physical operations, certain land holdings, research and development, pine and
hardwood germplasm and breeding programs. ArborGen's operation will now span
more than 20 locations in four countries and include more than 185 employees.

    Dr. Barbara Wells, President and Chief Executive Officer of ArborGen
observed that the acquisition provides the Company with a large and
established presence in the important North American and Australasian markets,
with immediate sales revenue and cash flow, in addition to ArborGen's
portfolio of elite tree products.

    "The addition of these world-class assets and sales networks to our
advanced product portfolio transforms ArborGen into a fully integrated,
full-service tree improvement company, confirming our position as a world
leader in tree genetics, products and services," said Wells.

    Wells added that on the product side, the acquisitions bring immediate
benefits to customers, including access to ArborGen's elite pine varietals and
the superior pine and hardwood products of International Paper, MeadWestvaco
and Rubicon.

    "By expanding ArborGen's current loblolly pine varietal offerings to
include SuperTree Seedlings from International Paper, the MCP (Mass Controlled
Pollination) seedlings of MeadWestvaco, and Rubicon's Horizon2 operations,
ArborGen can now offer customers a complete suite of high value products and
services," said Wells. "ArborGen's ongoing research and development will
remain focused on delivering the highest quality trees in the future."

    ArborGen currently has in field trials more than 3,000 loblolly pine
varietals, planted across 35 distinct geographic sites in the U.S., the
largest trial database of its kind in North America. In Australia and New
Zealand ArborGen gains access to an equivalent number of Radiata pine
varietals in field trials. The expanded market access provided by the addition
of the nursery and seed orchard operations allows ArborGen to leverage this
intellectual property into high value products and services for the Company
and its customers.

    About ArborGen

    ArborGen, LLC, headquartered in Summerville, South Carolina, is a world
leader in the research, development and commercialization of technologies that
provide purpose grown trees for the forest products industry. The Company is
also developing trees as feedstock for ethanol production, an important
solution for meeting the world's growing demand for renewable energy. ArborGen
is dedicated to developing purpose grown trees that produce more wood on less
land in sustainable planted forests, thereby conserving the world's native
forests in all their diversity for future generations. For more information,
please visit us at www.arborgen.com.

    MeadWestvaco Corporation (NYSE:   MWV) provides packaging solutions to many
of the world's most-admired brands in the food and beverage, media and
entertainment, personal care, home and garden, cosmetics, and healthcare
industries. The company has market-leading positions in its Consumer & Office
Products and Specialty Chemicals businesses, and operates in more than 30
countries. MeadWestvaco manages all of its forestlands in accordance with
internationally recognized forest certification standards, and has been named
to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third consecutive year. For more
information, please visit us at www.meadwestvaco.com.

    International Paper (NYSE:   IP), founded in 1898, is a global uncoated
paper and packaging company with primary markets and manufacturing operations
in North America, Europe, Russia, Latin America and Asia. Its uncoated papers
and packaging businesses are complemented by xpedx, North America's largest
distributor of printing papers and graphics supplies and equipment.
Headquartered in the United States, International Paper employs approximately
54,000 people in more than 20 countries, and serves customers worldwide.
Annual sales are about $22 billion. International Paper partners with
customers and environmental, academic, civic and governmental organizations,
as well as landowners and harvesting professionals, to encourage responsible
forest stewardship, improve the health and productivity of forestlands and
increase recovery of our recyclable products. The company has a long-standing
policy of using no wood from endangered forests. To learn more about
International Paper, its products and commitment to economic, social and
environmental sustainability, visit www.internationalpaper.com.

    Rubicon (NZX: RBC) is a New Zealand-headquartered company operating in
the forest products industry in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
It was formed in 2001 as part of the separation of the Fletcher Challenge
Group. Through its 57% interest in Tenon (NZX - TEN), Rubicon has a leading
specialty position in the mouldings and millwork segment of the US housing
market, selling into both the 'big box' retailers and the independent
lumberyard operators. Rubicon has over 1,400 employees. For more information
on Rubicon, please visit www.rubicon-nz.com.




For further information:

For further information: ArborGen, LLC Media Relations, 843-851-4129

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