Volume 1

Midlands Pine Post
In January 2009 Seven Oaks Sawmills was transferred into and operated under the name of Midlands Pine Products (Pty) Limited. At the end of March 2009 the then General Manager of UCL, Heinz Rencken announced that UCL had negotiated to buy a seventy percent interest in Küsel Sawmills but that the deal would first be subject to Competition Commission scrutiny.

The Merger with Küsel Sawmills

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In January 2009 Seven Oaks Sawmills was transferred into and operated under the name of Midlands Pine Products (Pty) Limited. At the end of March 2009 the then General Manager of UCL, Heinz Rencken announced that UCL had negotiated to buy a seventy percent interest in Küsel Sawmills but that the deal would first be subject to Competition Commission scrutiny. Eventually in November 2009, after approval from the Competition Commissioner, Küsel Sawmills merged with Seven Oaks Sawmills under the banner of MPP.

The merger has presented us with a wonderful opportunity to build a top class sawmilling company and to strengthen our position in the local market. The merger has also presented us with a number of challenges with regard to bringing everyone together and striving towards achieving common goals. It is a credit to both UCL and Küsel Sawmills that the cultures of both companies were such that the integration of mills happened smoothly.

The Company now has a sawmilling capacity of 70000 cubic metres per annum. We are able to offer our customers a range of products from structural timber through to ceilings, deckings and mouldings. The merger has also allowed us to make better use of the skills available and we have undertaken a staff reorganisation. Our first step was to establish a dedicated sales and marketing office headed by Louis van der Linde. Louis, who was very successful in sales with SAPPI Clan, is now the sales and marketing manager.

His office is based in Dalton and he is very ably assisted by Mrs. Yvette Freese. Keith Bailey, the previous mill manager at Küsel Sawmills with over twenty years of sawmilling experience is the company’s operations manager and will oversee the production at both mills. Piet Nel and Don Swales are the production managers at Seven Oaks Sawmills and Küsel Sawmills respectively.

The Company has also secured raw material supply by purchasing the Küsel Sawmill farms in New Hannover and Peter Burdon’s farm, “The Forest” in the Karkloof. The total farm area under the control of MPP amounts to 2800 hectares. Kurt Eggers manages the farms in New Hanover and Edward Naidoo the farm in the Karkloof.

Installation of new moulders at our sawmills.

In order to upgrade and modernise the equipment in our sawmills we have embarked on a replacement program of our older equipment. In March of this year we installed two new Leadermac moulders in our mills, one at Seven Oaks Sawmills and one at Küsel Sawmills respectively. These new machines replace two old Kupfermule planers that have given us outstanding service and reliability but that can no longer keep up with the required production.

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Leadermac Hypermac 523 moulders installed at our sawmills.

Another exciting development is the installation of a TFD double stack kiln at Küsel Sawmills. The kiln will be up and running by the middle of July this year and will increase the drying capacity at the mill significantly. We will report to you on the performance of the kiln in due course.

Appointment of a Forestry Manager

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Dave Williams

The merger with Küsel Sawmills and the purchase of an additional farm meant that the Company had a considerable land holding and a large fleet of harvesting vehicles and equipment. It was also felt that we needed to improve the productivity and efficiency of our harvesting operation and the services we offer to our members.

In March 2010 we appointed a forestry manager for MPP and we were fortunate enough to lure Dave Williams back into the district to fill the position.

Dave worked previously for UCL as a farm manager back in the “nineties”. He actually went to work for Heinz Küsel for a number of years. He then left UCL to start his own contracting business which included timber contracting. He has many years of experience in the management and harvesting of pine plantations and we welcome him to MPP and wish him a long and happy association with MPP and UCL.

Dave will be a senior member of the MPP management team and his responsibilities will include:-

  • The procurement of raw material for our sawmills.
  • The scheduling and management of the harvesting and thinnings team.
  • The overseeing of the farming operations.
  • Liaison with our growers and the development of an extension service.

Dave will be assisted by Gerhard Scholtz from SOSM and Simosake Chamane from KSM. Please feel free to contact him with regard to matters of raw material supply, harvesting and thinning on his cell on 082 465 2316. We will be visiting you during the course of the next few months to introduce Dave.

New Sales and Marketing Office

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Louis van der Linde | Yvette Freese

We have opened a sales and marketing office in Dalton since the merger between Seven Oaks Saw Mills and Küsel Saw Mills. This was done in order to centralise the orders and sales from both mills. It has also allowed us to have a team dedicated to increasing our share of the market and we look forward to great things ahead. The sales and marketing office is led by Louis van der Linde, previously manager at SOSM, and he is assisted by Yvette Freese. The contact details for the sales office are listed on the back of this bulletin.

What services do we offer our growers?

Our objective as a sawmiller is to become the sawmill of choice for all pine growers in the area. We recognise that in order to do this we need to offer our growers a complete service and to take away the hassle of growing and managing pine plantations. This task will be one of Dave William’s main areas on concentration and something we will be focussing on heavily in the months to come.

However, many growers are not aware that we offer a THINNING SERVICE. Many of our growers are predominantly cane and wattle growers and do not have the expertise and resources to do the thinning of their pine plantations.

We offer this service and we urge you to make use of it in order to ensure that when the trees mature they are good quality trees giving you the maximum return. We are also looking at offering a pruning service but will report back to you at a later stage.

We also offer a MARKETING SERVICE whereby MPP will buy the sawlog and then market the pulp and smaller diameter round logs on your behalf. So, apart from the clear felling service we offer, we will also do your thinning and market all the timber for you for a hassle free pine growing experience!! Please contact Dave Williams for any assistance.

Contact Numbers

Dave Williams - Forestry Manager
082 465 2316 | williamsd@ucl.co.za

Louis van der Linde - Sales & Marketing Manager
082 411 7584 | vanderlindel@ucl.co.za

Keith Bailey - Operations Manager
082 808 7953 | k.bailey@mweb.co.za

Steve Casey - UCL Assistant General Manager
Subsidiaries 082 492 7238 | caseys@ucl.co.za

Sales Office - Dalton
033 501 1558 | mppsales@ucl.co.za

SOSM - Mill Office
033 507 1080 | sosm@ucl.co.za

KSM - Mill Office
033 506 1121 | leoniedc@mweb.co.za

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