Kiwi billionaire boosts stake in Chinese forests

By Christopher Donville

New Zealand billionaire investor Richard Chandler has bought more shares of Sino-Forest, increasing to 11 per cent his interest in the Chinese tree-plantation owner.

The Richard Chandler company said yesterday that its Mandolin Fund acquired 2.44 million Sino-Forest shares on July 19, boosting its stake by 10 per cent to 26.7 million shares from 24.3 million.

Sino-Forest fell 83 per cent last month after Muddy Waters, a research firm founded by Carson Block, published a report alleging Sino-Forest overstated timber holdings in China.

Sino-Forest, which is based in Hong Kong and Ontario and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, has denied the claims and commissioned an independent investigation.

Chandler, who Forbes said last year had a net worth of US$3.1 billion ($3.6 billion), is the third-largest shareholder in Sino-Forest after Davis Selected Advisers and Wellington Management, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

- Bloomberg

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