Kimball International, Inc. (NASDAQ: KBALB) announced today that it has completed the sale of all of the Company’s undeveloped land holdings and timberlands, a total of 27,196 acres located in Indiana and Kentucky. The auction sales totaled $50.605 million.
The Company confirmed that it reached an agreement to sell the nearly 12,000 acres in Union and Crittenden counties in western Kentucky, known as the “Sturgis” property for $24.583 million, after previously rejecting a high bid of $23.9 million submitted Saturday, November 8 during the live auction.
The November 8 auction, the third and final event in a widely publicized three-day auction of Kimball timberland, had a strong crowd with a wide range of interests in the 11,776 acres in the “Sturgis” property.
According to John Kahle, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Kimball International, the decision to sell the property was carefully considered by Kimball’s Board of Directors and based on a number of business reasons.
“While these properties are no longer essential to Company operations, the timberlands have been managed as a financial investment,” explained Kahle. “We stated from the start that with our rock solid balance sheet and strong current cash position, we did not need a sale to raise funds for operations. However, given the properties’ significant value, but relative illiquidity, we believed Kimball share owners would be better served by converting this investment into cash at this time to fund the Company’s growth strategies in both its Furniture and Electronics businesses.”
Kimball had retained Woltz & Schrader Auctions to conduct the land sale. A series of three auctions were held November 6, 7 and 8. Small bidders dominated the first day’s auction held in French Lick, Indiana, resulting in the sale of 9,426 acres of southern Indiana land to 72 different buyers for a total sale of $15.780 million. The second day’s auction, held in Brandenburg, Kentucky, again saw wins by individuals and smaller buyers with 15 buyers purchasing 5,994 acres for a total of $10.243 million.
“We had strong turnouts of more than 200 bidders every day, with a few bidders seeking large combinations of acreage and a lot of smaller bidders interested in smaller amounts of land for hunting or personal use,” said Rex Schrader, President of the auction company.
Kimball first began acquiring properties in 1963 as a strategic reserve of its primary raw material: wood. Recognized for its long-term, sustainable forestry management practices, Kimball’s reputation for environmental sensitivity is well known among many agencies and organizations. The Company had a long history of working with State Departments of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, and the Nature Preserves Commission, as well as with The Nature Conservancy, to set aside portions of its forest tracts for preservation, along with research projects coordinated with the University of Kentucky and Purdue University. Kimball’s policy of “managed use” and selective harvesting on its properties wisely utilized its commercial value, provided jobs and economic value directly to the country’s forest products industry, and at the same time provided for the preservation and long-term responsible management of this renewable resource, its wildlife and natural habitat.
“We feel that it’s important for the people to know that we are proud of our excellent stewardship of these properties and our natural environment,” noted Kahle. “We are delighted that so many parcels were obtained by smaller bidders and individuals for personal use and recreation, as we had intended and hoped. And we are particularly pleased that tracts were purchased by The Nature Conservancy and the State of Kentucky. We know those properties will be preserved, managed and maintained for the enjoyment of many generations to come.”
The sale was conducted utilizing an auction approach, a process that makes land available to the broadest audience of potential buyers and to the varied interests of the purchasers: farming, sustainable forest management, conservation and preservation, wildlife refuge and hunting, natural resource exploration and recovery.
Kimball retained Woltz & Schrader Auctions of Columbia City, Indiana to conduct the sale. Woltz & Schrader is the nation’s leading auctioneer of agricultural, recreational, development and other types of land throughout the United States and is uniquely qualified to access buyers on a national and international basis.
About Woltz & Schrader:
Woltz & Schrader Auctions of Columbia City, Indiana is the nation’s leading auctioneer of agricultural, recreational, development and other types of land throughout the United States. Additional information is available at www.schraderauction.com
About Kimball International:
Recognized with a reputation for excellence, Kimball International is committed to a high performance culture that values personal and organizational commitment to quality, reliability, value, speed, and ethical behavior. Kimball employees know they are part of a corporate culture that builds success for customers while enabling employees to share in the Company’s success through personal, professional and financial growth.
Kimball International, Inc. (NASDAQ: KBALB) provides a variety of products from its two business segments: the Electronic Manufacturing Services segment and the Furniture segment. The Electronic Manufacturing Services segment provides engineering and manufacturing services which utilize common production and support capabilities to a variety of industries globally. The Furniture segment provides furniture for the office and hospitality industries, sold under the Company’s family of brand names.
To learn more about Kimball International, Inc., visit the Company’s website on the Internet at: www.kimball.com
“Kimball International… We Build Success!”
Martin Vaught, 812-482-8255
Director of Public Relations