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Hancock Timber Resource Group Acquires 200,000 Hectares of New Zealand Timberland from Carter Holt Harvey
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Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 30 November 2006 -- /PRNewswire/ -- The Hancock Timber Resource Group (HTRG) today announced that it has completed the acquisition of approximately 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) of New Zealand timberland and forestry rights from Carter Holt Harvey, Limited (Carter Holt). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The properties, located on the North and South Islands of New Zealand, are plantation forests, populated primarily with radiata pine and with smaller amounts of Douglas fir and eucalyptus. HTRG now manages approximately 296,000 hectares (731,000 acres) of plantation timber in New Zealand.

"We are very pleased with the acquisition of these excellent and highly productive plantations, which are outstanding additions to our clients' portfolios," said Dan Christensen, Hancock Timber Resource Group president. "We have continued to enhance our global timberland holdings and this has resulted in our ability to offer high-quality, geographically diversified timberland portfolios to our clients."

Christensen noted that HTRG has had a long-standing interest in participating in the New Zealand forest industry and made its first investment in 2004.

"We have confidence in the New Zealand economy and in the country as a place to do business. Our experience has been extremely positive," he said. "We believe the forest industry in particular has an exciting future, with excellent plantations generating a high-quality, fast growing wood resource ideally suited to meet domestic New Zealand needs as well as to supply Asia and other growing global markets."

Hancock Forest Management (NZ) Limited (HFM NZ), HTRG's New Zealand property management operation, is assuming management responsibilities for the former Carter Holt properties. HFM NZ has a strong local team and will be employing more than 100 New Zealanders to manage its new and existing assets. "As always, the management of all of our forests, including these newly acquired ones, will be conducted with a long-term, sustainable perspective that benefits the environment, the community and our clients," Christensen said. "We believe good stewardship is good business."

UniSuper Limited and Perpetual's Diversified Infrastructure Fund will be two of the investors in the transaction.

UniSuper Limited is an Australian retirement fund that provides retirement benefits primarily for employees of Australian universities. UniSuper's funds under management total more than A$ 20 billion, supporting approximately 360,000 member accounts.

Perpetual's Diversified Infrastructure Fund is managed by Perpetual Investment Management Limited, one of Australia's leading investment managers with current funds under management in excess of A$ 33 billion. Perpetual Investment Management Limited is part of Perpetual Limited, an independent, diversified financial services group established in Australia 120 years ago. Perpetual Limited has been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange for more than 40 years. It has shareholder funds of A$331 million and a market capitalization in excess of A$ 2.5 billion.

About The Hancock Timber Resource Group

Boston-based Hancock Timber Resource Group, a division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc, an operating company of MFC Global Investment Management, manages approximately 3.8 million acres of timberland on behalf of its clients. The timberlands, worth approximately USD 6 billion, are located in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast and the Southeast United States as well as Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, and Australia. Additional information about HTRG may be found at its Web site: www.hancocktimber.com .

About MFC Global Investment Management

MFC Global Investment Management is the diversified investment management group of Manulife Financial, with investment offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, and throughout Southeast Asia. MFC Global has more than 100 years of experience managing portfolios for the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, John Hancock Life Insurance Company, and other major clients. With more than more than USD 205 billion (CAD 230 billion) in assets under management (as at 30 September 2006), MFC Global Investment Management is a leading global investment management group. Additional information about MFC Global Investment Management may be found at www.mfcglobal.com .

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as "MFC" on the TSX, NYSE, and PSE, and under "0945" on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com .

Source: Hancock Timber Resource Group


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