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Concern at potential market mis-information

Concern at potential market mis-information

AUCKLAND, 29 November 2000 – The Chief Executive of Fletcher Challenge, Michael Andrews, today expressed his disappointment that CITIC New Zealand Limited had chosen to try to resolve a commercial dispute relating to the Central North Island Forest Partnership (CNIFP) in the media.

“In our public comments on the issue,” Mr Andrews said, “when responding to CITIC’s press releases, we have been at pains to ensure that we maintained a high level of both integrity and professionalism. We have not made reference to individuals, but consistently referred to the companies involved. We have confined ourselves to facts, rather than half-truths and innuendoes. We have also been very restrained in the comments we have made to the media, despite provocation from ill-informed and inaccurate comments from CITIC. We also reject entirely the view that anything we have said was racist in tone or content. We can assure CITIC that neither race nor individuals have any bearing on our approach to this or any other commercial matter.”

Mr Andrews continued, “When two parties are in dispute, as we are, our choice is to work to resolve the issues out of the public eye. CITIC has chosen to take a different route. We will continue to state accurately and clearly the viewpoint that we hold on the CNIFP issues, and to refute comments made by CITIC when we believe they fail to meet these standards.”

He noted that CITIC’s comments on the legal status of its claims against Fletcher Challenge Forests and the on-going negotiations in relation to the Central North Island Forest Partnership were ‘unhelpful and inaccurate’ and reiterated that CITIC’s claims are substantially baseless. “The two partners and the banks need to conduct their commercial negotiations in private, not through the media,” he said.

“Fletcher Challenge has on several occasions invited CITIC to resolve the commercial disputes through formal arbitration. These invitations have been declined which suggests to us that CITIC wish to avoid resolution, for their own purposes,” Mr Andrews concluded.

Ends

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