UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
| ||For the transition period from to |
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(Commission File Number)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)|
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(Commission File Number)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)|
1 RAYONIER WAY
WILDLIGHT, FL 32097
(Principal Executive Office)
Telephone Number: (904) 357-9100
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol||Exchange|
|Common Shares, no par value, of Rayonier Inc.||RYN||New York Stock Exchange|
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Rayonier Inc. Yes ☒ No o Rayonier, L.P. Yes ☒ No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.
Rayonier Inc. Yes o No ☒ Rayonier, L.P. Yes o No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Rayonier Inc. Yes ☒ No o Rayonier, L.P. Yes ☒ No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Rayonier Inc. Yes ☒ No o Rayonier, L.P. Yes ☒ No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large Accelerated Filer|
|Accelerated Filer||☐||Non-accelerated Filer||☐||Smaller Reporting Company||☐||Emerging Growth Company||☐|Rayonier, L.P.
|Large Accelerated Filer||☐||Accelerated Filer||☐||Non-accelerated Filer|
|Smaller Reporting Company||☐||Emerging Growth Company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Rayonier Inc. ☐ Rayonier, L.P. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Rayonier Inc. Yes ☐ No ☒ Rayonier, L.P. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C.7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Rayonier Inc. Yes ☒ No o Rayonier, L.P. Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the Common Shares of the registrant held by non-affiliates at the close of business on June 30, 2021 was $5,049,676,168 based on the closing sale price as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.
As of February 18, 2022, Rayonier Inc. had 145,369,424 Common Shares outstanding. As of February 18, 2022, Rayonier, L.P. had 3,315,254 Units outstanding.
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the 2022 annual meeting of the shareholders of the registrant scheduled to be held May 19, 2022, are incorporated by reference in Part III hereof.
This report combines the annual reports on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 of Rayonier Inc., a North Carolina corporation, and Rayonier, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership. Unless stated otherwise or the context otherwise requires, references to “Rayonier” or “the Company” mean Rayonier Inc. and references to the “Operating Partnership” mean Rayonier, L.P. References to “we,” “us,” and “our” mean collectively Rayonier Inc., the Operating Partnership and entities/subsidiaries owned or controlled by Rayonier Inc. and/or the Operating Partnership.
Rayonier Inc. has elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, commencing with its taxable year ended December 31, 2004. The Company is structured as an umbrella partnership REIT (“UPREIT”) under which substantially all of its business is conducted through the Operating Partnership. Rayonier Inc. is the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership. On May 8, 2020, Rayonier, L.P. acquired Pope Resources, a Delaware Limited Partnership (“Pope Resources”) and issued approximately 4.45 million operating partnership units (“OP Units” or “Redeemable Operating Partnership Units”) of Rayonier, L.P. as partial merger consideration. These OP Units are generally considered to be economic equivalents to Rayonier common shares and receive distributions equal to the dividends paid on Rayonier common shares. See Note 2 - Merger with Pope Resources for additional information pertaining to the merger.
As of December 31, 2021, the Company owned a 97.8% interest in the Operating Partnership, with the remaining 2.2% interest owned by limited partners of the Operating Partnership. As the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership, Rayonier Inc. has exclusive control of the day-to-day management of the Operating Partnership.
Rayonier Inc. and the Operating Partnership are operated as one business. The management of the Operating Partnership consists of the same members as the management of Rayonier Inc. As general partner with control of the Operating Partnership, Rayonier Inc. consolidates Rayonier, L.P. for financial reporting purposes, and has no material assets or liabilities other than its investment in the Operating Partnership.
We believe combining the annual reports of Rayonier Inc. and Rayonier, L.P. into this single report results in the following benefits:
•Strengthens investors’ understanding of Rayonier Inc. and the Operating Partnership by enabling them to view the business as a single operating unit in the same manner as management views and operates the business;
•Creates efficiencies for investors by reducing duplicative disclosures and providing a single comprehensive document; and
•Generates time and cost savings associated with the preparation of the reports when compared to preparing separate reports for each entity.
There are a few important differences between Rayonier Inc. and the Operating Partnership in the context of how Rayonier Inc. operates as a consolidated company. The Company itself does not conduct business, other than through acting as the general partner of the Operating Partnership and issuing equity or equity-related instruments from time-to-time. The Operating Partnership holds, directly or indirectly, substantially all of the Company’s assets. Likewise, all debt is incurred by the Operating Partnership or entities/subsidiaries owned or controlled by the Operating Partnership. The Operating Partnership conducts substantially all of the Company’s business and is structured as a partnership with no publicly traded equity.
To help investors understand the significant differences between the Company and the Operating Partnership, this report includes:
•Separate Consolidated Financial Statements for Rayonier Inc. and Rayonier, L.P.;
•A combined set of Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements with separate discussions of per share and per unit information, noncontrolling interests and shareholders’ equity and partners’ capital, as applicable;
•A combined Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, which includes specific information related to each reporting entity;
•A separate Part II, Item 9A. Controls and Procedures related to each reporting entity;
•A separate Part II, Item 5. Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity; related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities section related to each reporting entity; and
•Separate Exhibit 31 and 32 certifications for each reporting entity within Part IV.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Unless stated otherwise or the context otherwise requires, references to “Rayonier” or “the Company” mean Rayonier Inc. and references to the “Operating Partnership” mean Rayonier, L.P. References to “we,” “us,” and “our” mean collectively Rayonier Inc., the Operating Partnership and entities/subsidiaries owned or controlled by Rayonier Inc. and/or the Operating Partnership. References herein to “Notes to Financial Statements” or “Note” refer to the combined Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements of Rayonier Inc. and Rayonier, L.P. included in Item 8 of this Report.
NOTE ABOUT FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements in this document regarding anticipated financial outcomes, including our earnings guidance, if any, business and market conditions, outlook, expected dividend rate, our business strategies, including the acquisition of Pope Resources, expected harvest schedules, timberland acquisitions and dispositions, the anticipated benefits of our business strategies, and other similar statements relating to our future events, developments, or financial or operational performance or results, are “forward-looking statements” made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements are identified by the use of words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “estimate,” “believe,” “intend,” “project,” “anticipate” and other similar language. However, the absence of these or similar words or expressions does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking. While management believes that these forward-looking statements are reasonable when made, forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and undue reliance should not be placed on these statements. The risk factors contained in Item 1A — Risk Factors in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and similar discussions included in other reports that we subsequently file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), among others, could cause actual results or events to differ materially from our historical experience and those expressed in forward-looking statements made in this document.
Forward-looking statements are only as of the date they are made, and we undertake no duty to update our forward-looking statements except as required by law. You are advised, however, to review any subsequent disclosures we make on related subjects in subsequent reports filed with the SEC.
Item 1. BUSINESS
We are a leading timberland real estate investment trust (“REIT”) with assets located in some of the most productive softwood timber growing regions in the U.S. and New Zealand. We invest in timberlands and actively manage them to provide current income and attractive long-term returns to our shareholders. We conduct our business through an umbrella partnership real estate investment trust (“UPREIT”) structure in which our assets are owned by our Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries. Rayonier manages the Operating Partnership as its sole general partner. Our revenues, operating income and cash flows are primarily derived from the following core business segments: Southern Timber, Pacific Northwest Timber, New Zealand Timber, Real Estate, and Trading. As of December 31, 2021, we owned, leased or managed approximately 2.7 million acres of timberland and real estate located in the U.S. South (1.80 million acres), U.S. Pacific Northwest (490,000 acres) and New Zealand (419,000 gross acres, or 296,000 net plantable acres). In addition, we engage in the trading of logs to Pacific Rim markets, predominantly from New Zealand and Australia to support our New Zealand export operations; however, we also engage in log trading activities to these markets from the U.S. South and U.S. Pacific Northwest. We have an added focus to maximize the value of our land portfolio by pursuing higher and better use (“HBU”) land sale opportunities.
We originated as the Rainier Pulp & Paper Company founded in Shelton, Washington in 1926. On June 27, 2014, Rayonier completed the tax-free spin-off of its Performance Fibers manufacturing business from its timberland and real estate operations, thereby becoming a “pure-play” timberland REIT. On May 8, 2020, Rayonier, L.P. acquired Pope Resources, a Delaware Limited Partnership (“Pope Resources”).
Under our REIT structure, we are generally not required to pay U.S. federal income taxes on our earnings from timber harvest operations and other REIT-qualifying activities contingent upon meeting applicable distribution, income, asset, shareholder and other tests. As of December 31, 2021, Rayonier owns a 97.8% interest in the Operating Partnership and a corresponding portion of taxable income or loss. Certain operations are conducted through our taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRS”) and subject to U.S. federal and state corporate income tax. As of December 31, 2021 and as of the date of the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we believe the Company is in compliance with all REIT tests. See Note 22 — Income Taxes for further discussion of REIT and non-REIT qualifying operations.
The Company’s shares are publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol RYN. We are a North Carolina corporation with executive offices located at 1 Rayonier Way, Wildlight, Florida 32097. Our telephone number is (904) 357-9100.
OUR COMPETITIVE STRENGTHS
We believe that we distinguish ourselves from other timberland owners and other alternative asset investments through the following competitive strengths:
•Leading Pure-Play Timberland REIT. We are differentiated from other publicly-traded timberland REITs in that we are invested exclusively in timberlands and real estate and do not own any pulp, paper or wood products manufacturing assets. We are the largest publicly-traded “pure-play” timberland REIT, which provides our investors with a focused, large-scale timberland investment alternative without taking on the risks and volatility inherent in direct ownership of forest products manufacturing assets.
•Well-Positioned for a Sustainable, Low-Carbon Economy. Our forests mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration and further support clean air and water and wildlife habitats – all while being sustainably managed through continuous cycles of growth and harvest. Our trees not only remove carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis while growing, but even after harvesting, a significant portion of the carbon removed from our forests can remain stored for an extended period of time within the wood products produced from our timber. Life cycle assessment studies have demonstrated that wood-based building products generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions as compared to other building materials, such as concrete and steel. We intend to be an industry leader in the rigor by which we measure our carbon footprint, the transparency of our disclosure, and in capitalizing on our ability to offer low-carbon solutions.
•Located in Premier Softwood Growing Regions with Access to Strong Markets. Our geographically diverse timberland holdings are strategically located in core softwood producing regions, including the U.S. South, U.S. Pacific Northwest and New Zealand. Our most significant timberland holdings are located in the U.S. South, in close proximity to a variety of established pulp, paper and wood products manufacturing facilities and export facilities, which provide a steady source of competitive demand for both pulpwood and higher-value sawtimber products. Our Pacific Northwest and New Zealand timberlands benefit from strong domestic sawmilling markets and are located near ports to capitalize on export markets serving the Pacific Rim.
•Attractive Pipeline of HBU Opportunities. We have a dedicated HBU platform with an established track record of selling rural and development HBU properties across our portfolio at strong premiums to timberland values. We continuously evaluate the highest and best use of our lands and seek to capitalize on identified HBU opportunities through strategies uniquely tailored to maximize value, including selectively pursuing land-use entitlements and infrastructure improvements through one of our taxable REIT subsidiaries. Much of our HBU activity is concentrated in the U.S. South, where we own approximately 200,000 acres of timberlands located in the vicinity of Interstate 95 primarily north of Daytona Beach, FL and south of Savannah, GA.
•Sophisticated Log Marketing Capabilities Serving Various Pacific Rim Markets. We conduct a log trading operation based in New Zealand, which serves timberland owners in New Zealand and Australia and provides access to key export markets in China, South Korea and India. This operation provides us with superior market intelligence and economies of scale, both of which add value to our timber export operations and contribute to our earnings and cash flows, with minimal investment.
•Advantageous Structure and Capitalization. Under our REIT structure, we are generally not required to pay federal income taxes on our earnings from timber harvest operations and other REIT-qualifying activities, which allows us to optimize the value of our portfolio in a tax efficient manner. We also maintain a strong credit profile and have investment grade debt ratings. As of December 31, 2021, our net debt to enterprise value was 14%. We believe that our advantageous REIT structure and conservative capitalization provide us with a competitive cost of capital and significant financial flexibility to pursue growth initiatives.
Our business strategy consists of the following key elements:
•Manage our Timberlands on a Sustainable Yield Basis for Long-term Results. We generate recurring income and cash flow from the harvest and sale of timber and intend to actively manage our timberlands to maximize net present value over the long term by achieving an optimal balance among biological timber growth, generation of cash flow from harvesting activities, and responsible environmental stewardship. Our harvesting strategy is designed to produce a long-term, sustainable yield, although we may adjust harvest levels periodically in response to then-current market conditions.
•Capitalize on Advantageous Net Carbon Position. We estimate that our timberlands absorb more carbon than we emit in our operations. As such, we are positioning ourselves to take advantage of increasing demands for carbon solutions by companies, governments and investors. We rigorously analyze our carbon footprint and have developed a framework for collecting and reporting our carbon footprint to our investors and other stakeholders. We expect that the unique environmental attributes of our forestry assets will play an increasingly important role in our efforts to create value over time.
•Apply Advanced Silviculture to Increase the Productivity of our Timberlands. We use our forestry expertise and disciplined financial approach to determine the appropriate silviculture programs and investments to maximize returns. This includes re-planting a significant portion of our harvested acres with improved seedlings we have developed through decades of research and cultivation. Over time, we expect these improved seedlings will result in higher volumes per acre and a higher value product mix.
•Increase the Size and Quality of our Timberland Holdings through Acquisitions. We intend to selectively pursue timberland acquisition opportunities that improve the average productivity of our timberland holdings, support cash flow generation from harvesting, and enhance our net carbon position. Our acquisition strategy employs a disciplined approach with rigorous adherence to strategic and financial metrics. Generally, we expect to focus our acquisition efforts on our existing operating areas. We may also consider acquisition opportunities outside of our existing operating areas where we anticipate favorable long-term market dynamics and financial returns. In 2021, we acquired approximately 102,000 acres of fee timberland and 1,000 leased acres. We acquired an additional 132,000 acres of fee timberland in 2020 (including 120,000 acres in the merger with Pope Resources) and 69,000 acres in 2019. Additionally, we acquired leases or long-term forestry rights covering approximately 7,000 acres in 2020 (including 4,000 acres in the merger with Pope Resources) and 2,000 acres in 2019.
•Optimize our Portfolio Value. We continuously assess potential alternative uses of our timberlands, as some of our properties may become more valuable for development, residential, recreation, conservation, carbon sequestration or other purposes. We intend to capitalize on such higher-valued uses by opportunistically monetizing HBU properties and/or land-use rights in our portfolio. We generally expect that sales of HBU property will comprise approximately 1% to 2% of our Southern timberland holdings on an annual basis. Our HBU sales involve rural and recreational land as well as properties where we selectively pursue various land-use entitlements and improvements for residential, commercial and industrial development in order to fully realize the enhanced long-term value potential of such properties. We further have an added strategic focus to evaluate and advance ecosystem monetization alternatives, including the long-term development of forest carbon markets.
•Focus on Timberland Operations to Support Cash Flow Generation. As described above, we rely primarily on annual harvesting activities and ongoing sales of HBU properties to generate cash flow from our timberland holdings. However, we also periodically generate income and cash flow from the sale of non-strategic and/or non-HBU timberlands, in particular as we seek to optimize our portfolio by disposing of less desirable properties or to fund capital allocation priorities, including share repurchases, debt repayment or acquisitions. Our strategy is to limit reliance on planned sales of non-HBU timberlands to augment cash flow generation and instead rely primarily on supporting cash flow from the operation, rather than sale, of our timberlands. We believe this strategy will support the sustainability of our harvesting activities over the long term.
•Promote Responsible Stewardship and Best-in-Class Disclosure. We are committed to responsible stewardship, environmentally and economically sustainable forestry, and positive climate change solutions. As such, we are focused on continuing to develop and integrate robust environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) policies and best practices within our business. We further intend to be an industry leader in transparent disclosure, particularly relating to our timberland holdings, harvest schedules, inventory, age-class profiles, carbon footprint and other meaningful data regarding our long-term sustainability. We believe our continued commitment to transparency and the stewardship of our assets and capital will allow us to maintain our timberlands’ productivity, more effectively attract and deploy capital and enhance our reputation as a preferred timber industry supplier and employer.
As discussed in Note 7 - Noncontrolling Interests, we sold the rights to manage Fund III and Fund IV, as well as our ownership interests in both funds in July 2021. As a result, Timber Fund III and IV balance sheets and results of operations are only included in our consolidated financial statements through the date of the sale. In addition, we completed the liquidation of Fund II timberland assets through three separate transactions during the third and fourth quarters of 2021. As of December 31, 2021, we continue to maintain a 20% ownership interest in Fund II, which is scheduled to terminate in March 2023. Prior to the termination of Fund II, the remaining capital will be distributed to Fund II investors. See Note 7 - Noncontrolling Interests and Note 8 - Variable Interest Entities for additional information.
Our timber businesses are disaggregated into Southern Timber, Pacific Northwest Timber, New Zealand Timber and Timber Funds segments. Sales in the Timber segments include all activities related to the harvesting of timber as well as lease and license activities, other non-timber activities and carbon credit sales. Sales in the Timber Funds segment also include the disposition of Fund II timberland assets.
DISCUSSION OF TIMBER INVENTORY AND SUSTAINABLE YIELD
We define gross timber inventory as an estimate of all standing timber volume beyond the specified age at which we commence calculating our timber inventory for inclusion in our inventory tracking systems. The age at which we commence calculating our timber inventory is 10 years for our Southern timberlands, 20 years for our Pacific Northwest timberlands, and 20 years for our New Zealand timberlands. Our estimate of gross timber inventory is based on an inventory system that involves periodic statistical sampling and growth modeling. Periodic adjustments are made on the basis of growth estimates, harvest information, and environmental and operational restrictions. Gross timber inventory includes certain timber that we do not deem to be of a merchantable age as well as certain timber located in restricted, environmentally sensitive or economically inaccessible areas.
We define merchantable timber inventory as an estimate of timber volume beyond a specified age that approximates such timber’s earliest economically harvestable age. Our estimate includes certain timber located in restricted or environmentally sensitive areas based on an estimate of lawfully recoverable volumes from such areas. The estimate does not include volumes in restricted or environmentally sensitive areas that may not be lawfully
harvested or volumes located in economically inaccessible areas. The merchantable age (i.e., the age at which timber moves from pre-merchantable to merchantable) is 15 years for our Southern timberlands, with the exception of Oklahoma which is 17 years, 35 years for our Pacific Northwest timberlands, and 20 years for radiata pine and 30 years for Douglas-fir in our New Zealand timberlands.
Our estimated merchantable timber inventory changes over time as timber is harvested, as pre-merchantable timber transitions to merchantable timber, as existing merchantable timber inventory grows, as we acquire and sell timberland and as we periodically update our statistical sampling and growth and yield models. We estimate our merchantable timber inventory annually for purposes of calculating per unit depletion rates.
Timber inventory is generally measured and expressed in short green tons (SGT) in our Southern timberlands, in thousand board feet (MBF) or million board feet (MMBF) in our Pacific Northwest timberlands, and in cubic meters (m3) in our New Zealand timberlands. For conversion purposes, one MBF and one m3 is equal to approximately 7.99 and 1.12 short green tons, respectively. For comparison purposes, we provide inventory estimates for our Pacific Northwest and New Zealand timberlands in MBF and cubic meters, respectively, as well as in short green tons.
The following table sets forth the estimated volumes of merchantable timber inventory by location in short green tons as of September 30, 2021 for the South and Pacific Northwest and as of December 31, 2021 for New Zealand:
|(volumes in thousands of SGT)|
|Location||Merchantable Inventory (a)||%|
|South||63,986 ||70 |
|Pacific Northwest||10,719 ||12 |
|New Zealand||16,879 ||18 |
|91,584 ||100 |
(a)For all regions, depletion rate calculations for the upcoming year are based on estimated volumes of merchantable inventory at December 31, 2021.
We define sustainable yield as the average harvest level that can be sustained into perpetuity based on our estimates of biological growth and the expected productivity resulting from our reforestation and silvicultural efforts. Our estimated sustainable yield may change over time based on changes in silvicultural techniques and resulting timber yields, changes in environmental laws and restrictions, changes in the statistical sampling and estimates of our merchantable timber inventory, acquisitions and dispositions of timberlands, the expiration or renewal of timberland leases, casualty losses, and other factors. Moreover, our harvest level in any given year may deviate from our estimated sustainable yield due to variations in the age class of our timberlands, the product mix of our harvest (i.e., pulpwood versus sawtimber), our deliberate acceleration or deferral of harvest in response to market conditions, our thinning activity (in which we periodically remove some smaller trees from a stand to enhance long-term sawtimber potential of the remaining timber), or other factors. We estimate sustainable yield for each of our core Timber segments as of December 31, 2021.
We manage our U.S. timberlands in accordance with the requirements of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (“SFI”) program. The timberland holdings of the New Zealand subsidiary are certified under the Forest Stewardship Council® (“FSC”). The majority of our New Zealand timberland holdings are also certified under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (“PEFC”). All programs are comprehensive systems of environmental principles, objectives and performance measures that combine the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants, soil and water quality. Through application of our site-specific silvicultural expertise and financial discipline, we manage timber in a way that is designed to optimize site preparation, tree species selection, competition control, fertilization, timing of thinning and final harvest. We also have a genetic seedling improvement program to enhance the productivity and quality of our timberlands and overall forest health. In addition, non-timber income opportunities associated with our timberlands such as recreational licenses, as well as considerations for the future HBU of the land, are integral parts of our site-specific management philosophy. All of these activities are designed to maximize value while complying with SFI, or FSC and PEFC requirements.
As of December 31, 2021, our Southern timberlands acreage consisted of approximately 1.80 million acres (including approximately 133,000 acres of leased lands) located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. Approximately two-thirds of this land supports intensively managed plantations of predominantly loblolly and slash pine. The other one-third of this land is too wet to support pine plantations, but supports productive natural stands primarily consisting of natural pine and a variety of hardwood species. Rotation ages typically range from 21 to 28 years for pine plantations and from 35 to 60 years for natural stands. Key consumers of our timber include pulp, paper, wood products and biomass facilities.
We estimate that the gross timber inventory and merchantable timber inventory of our Southern timberlands were 80 million tons and 64 million tons, respectively, as of September 30, 2021. We estimate that the sustainable yield of our Southern timberlands, including both pine and hardwoods, is approximately 6.1 to 6.5 million tons annually. We expect that the average annual harvest volume of our Southern timberlands over the next five years (2022 to 2026) will be generally in line with our sustainable yield. For additional information, see Item 1 — Business — Discussion of Timber Inventory and Sustainable Yield and Item 1A — Risk Factors.
The following table provides a breakdown of our Southern timberlands acreage and timber inventory by product and age class as of September 30, 2021 (inventory volumes are estimated at December 31 to calculate a depletion rate for the upcoming year):
|(volumes in thousands of SGT)|
|Pine Pulpwood ||Pine Sawtimber ||Hardwood Pulpwood||Hardwood Sawtimber||Total|
|0 to 4 years (a)||239 ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|5 to 9 years||197 ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|10 to 14 years||201 ||8,230 ||1,558 ||55 ||— ||9,843 |
|15 to 19 years||210 ||11,753 ||4,633 ||118 ||2 ||16,506 |
|20 to 24 years||183 ||6,870 ||6,487 ||149 ||3 ||13,509 |
|25 to 29 years||55 ||1,949 ||2,951 ||89 ||3 ||4,992 |
|30 + years||38 ||1,064 ||2,575 ||129 ||2 ||3,770 |
|Total Pine Plantation||1,123 ||29,866 ||18,204 ||540 ||10 ||48,620 |
|Natural Pine (Plantable) (b)||33 ||328 ||699 ||752 ||231 ||2,010 |
|Natural Mixed Pine/Hardwood (c)||517 ||4,565 ||7,326 ||13,869 ||4,056 ||29,816 |
|Forested Acres and Gross Inventory||1,673 ||34,759 ||26,229 ||15,161 ||4,297 ||80,446 |
|Plus: Non-Forested Acres (d)||66 |
|Gross Acres||1,739 |
|Less: Pre-Merchantable Age Class |
|Less: Volume in Environmentally |
Sensitive/Legally Restricted Areas
|Merchantable Timber Inventory||63,986 |
(a)0 to 4 years includes clearcut acres not yet replanted.
(b)Consists of natural stands that are convertible into pine plantations once harvested.
(c)Consists of all non-plantable natural stands, including those that are in environmentally sensitive or economically inaccessible areas.
(d)Includes roads, rights of way and all other non-forested areas.
(e)Includes inventory that is less than 15 years old or less than 17 years old in Oklahoma.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST TIMBER
As of December 31, 2021, our Pacific Northwest timberlands consisted of approximately 490,000 acres located in Oregon and Washington, of which approximately 382,000 acres were designated as productive acres, meaning land that is capable of growing merchantable timber and where the harvesting of timber is not constrained by physical, environmental or regulatory restrictions. These timberlands primarily comprise second and third rotation western hemlock and Douglas-fir, as well as a small amount of other softwood species, such as western red cedar. A small percentage also consists of natural hardwood stands of predominantly red alder. In the Pacific Northwest, rotation ages typically range from 35 to 50 years. Our product mix in the Pacific Northwest is heavily weighted to sawtimber, which is sold to domestic wood products facilities as well as exported primarily to Pacific Rim markets.
We estimate that the gross timber inventory and merchantable timber inventory of our Pacific Northwest timberlands were 3,463 MMBF and 1,342 MMBF, respectively, as of September 30, 2021. We estimate that the sustainable yield of our Pacific Northwest timberlands is approximately 220 to 230 MMBF (or 1.75 to 1.85 million tons) annually. We expect that the average annual harvest volume of our Pacific Northwest timberlands over the next five years (2022 to 2026) will be generally in line with our sustainable yield. For additional information, see Item 1 — Business — Discussion of Timber Inventory and Sustainable Yield and Item 1A — Risk Factors. In 2021, we did not acquire any additional acres of timberlands in the Pacific Northwest region. For additional information, see Note 5 - Timberland Acquisitions.
The following table provides a breakdown of our Pacific Northwest timberlands acreage and timber inventory by product and age class as of September 30, 2021 (inventory volumes are estimated at December 31 to calculate a depletion rate for the upcoming year):
|(volumes in MBF, except as noted)|
|Age Class||Acres (000’s)||Softwood|
|0 to 4 years (a)||47 ||— ||— ||— |
|5 to 9 years||49 ||— ||— ||— |
|10 to 14 years||45 ||— ||— ||— |
|15 to 19 years||46 ||— ||— ||— |
|20 to 24 years||36 ||43,818 ||103,956 ||147,774 |
|25 to 29 years||31 ||47,815 ||251,375 ||299,190 |
|30 to 34 years||54 ||104,077 ||708,527 ||812,604 |
|35 to 39 years||43 ||77,422 ||709,207 ||786,629 |
|40 to 44 years||15 ||24,849 ||259,664 ||284,513 |
|45 to 49 years||5 ||8,218 ||72,085 ||80,303 |
|50+ years||7 ||16,798 ||146,991 ||163,789 |
|Total Commercial Forest||378 ||322,997 ||2,251,805 ||2,574,802 |
|Non-Commercial Forest (b)||4 ||3,774 ||23,124 ||26,898 |
|Productive Forested Acres||382 |
|Restricted Forest (c)||88 ||102,942 ||758,437 ||861,379 |
|Total Forested Acres and Gross Inventory||470 ||429,713 ||3,033,366 ||3,463,079 |
|Plus: Non-Forested Acres (d)||20 |
|Gross Acres||490 |
|Less: Pre-Merchantable Age Class Inventory||(1,260,153)|
|Less: Restricted Forest Inventory||(861,379)|
|Total Merchantable Timber||1,341,547 |
|Conversion factor for MBF to SGT||7.99 |
|Total Merchantable Timber (thousands of SGT)||10,719 |
(a)0 to 4 years includes clearcut acres not yet replanted.
(b)Includes non-commercial forests with limited productivity.
(c)Includes significant portions of riparian management zones, legally restricted forests, and environmentally sensitive areas.
(d)Includes roads, rights of way, and all other non-forested areas.
(e)Includes a minor component of hardwood in red alder and other species.
NEW ZEALAND TIMBER
As of December 31, 2021, our New Zealand timberlands consisted of approximately 419,000 acres (including approximately 232,000 acres of leased lands), of which approximately 296,000 acres were designated as productive or plantation acres, meaning land that is capable of growing merchantable timber and where the harvesting of timber is not constrained by physical, environmental or regulatory restrictions. The leased acres are generally leased through long-term arrangements including Crown Forest Licenses (“CFLs”), forestry rights and other leases. Rotation ages typically range from 24 to 34 years for pine plantations. Our New Zealand timberlands serve a domestic sawmilling market and also provide export logs to Pacific Rim markets.
Our New Zealand timber operations are conducted by Matariki Forestry Group, a joint venture with Stafford Capital Partners Limited (the “New Zealand subsidiary”). We maintain a controlling financial interest of 77% in the New Zealand subsidiary and, accordingly, consolidate the New Zealand subsidiary’s balance sheet and results of operations. The minority owner’s interest in the New Zealand subsidiary and its earnings are reported as noncontrolling interest in our financial statements. Rayonier’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Rayonier New Zealand Limited (“RNZ”), serves as the manager of the New Zealand subsidiary. For additional information, see Note 7 — Noncontrolling Interests. We estimate that the gross timber inventory and merchantable timber inventory of our New Zealand timberlands were both 15.1 million cubic meters as of December 31, 2021. We estimate that the sustainable yield of our New Zealand timberlands is approximately 2.1 to 2.4 million cubic meters (or 2.4 to 2.7 million tons) annually. We expect that the average annual harvest volume of our New Zealand timberlands over the next five years (2022 to 2026) will be at the higher end of our sustainable yield range. For additional information, see Item 1 — Business — Discussion of Timber Inventory and Sustainable Yield and Item 1A — Risk Factors. In 2021, we acquired approximately 3,000 acres of timberland in New Zealand, including approximately 1,000 acres of leased lands. For additional information, see Note 5 — Timberland Acquisitions.
The following table provides a breakdown of our New Zealand timberlands acreage and timber inventory by product and age class as of December 31, 2021 (inventory volumes at December 31 are used to calculate a depletion rate for the upcoming year):
(volumes in thousands of m3, except as noted)
|Age Class||Acres (000’s)||Pulpwood (d)||Sawtimber (d)||Total (d)|
|0 to 4 years (a)||64 ||— ||— ||— |
|5 to 9 years||39 ||— ||— ||— |
|10 to 14 years||45 ||— ||— ||— |
|15 to 19 years||49 ||— ||— ||— |
|20 to 24 years||47 ||1,779 ||6,371 ||8,150 |
|25 to 29 years||18 ||718 ||3,623 ||4,341 |
|30 + years||2 ||104 ||344 ||448 |
|Total Radiata Pine||264 ||2,601 ||10,338 ||12,939 |
|Other (b)||32 ||989 ||1,179 ||2,168 |
|Forested Acres and Merchantable Timber Inventory||296 ||3,590 ||11,517 ||15,107 |
Conversion factor for m3 to SGT
|Total Merchantable Timber (thousands of SGT)||16,879 |
|Plus: Non-Productive Acres (c)||123 |
|Gross Acres||419 |
(a)0 to 4 years includes clearcut acres not yet replanted.
(b)Includes primarily Douglas-fir age 30 and over.
(c)Includes natural forest and other non-planted acres.
(d)Includes timber located in environmentally sensitive areas.
The New Zealand subsidiary participates in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (“ETS”), which was designed to reduce emissions in New Zealand. The ETS helps to reduce emissions by requiring businesses to measure and report on their greenhouse gas emissions and surrender one emissions unit (“NZU” or “carbon credit”) to the government for each metric tonne of emissions. The New Zealand Government sets and reduces the number of units supplied into the scheme over time, which will limit the overall quantity of emissions to meet New Zealand’s emissions reduction targets.
Businesses who participate in the New Zealand ETS can buy and sell units from each other, with pricing driven by supply and demand in the scheme. As of December 31, 2021, the New Zealand subsidiary held 1,967,510 NZUs with respect to timberlands designated as post-1989 forests. These units were received for net carbon sequestered between 2008 and 2013 and from subsequent units acquired during 2019 and 2021. We estimate that 375,848 of these NZUs will be required to be surrendered upon harvest with the remainder available to be freely monetized. See Note 25 - Other Assets for information about our cost basis in carbon credits. See Note 4 — Revenue for information about the sale of carbon units.
Due to the sale of Fund III and IV, as well as the liquidation of Fund II timberland assets, we have discontinued our disclosure of Timber Fund inventory data. As of December 31, 2021, we no longer own any Timber Fund timberland assets. See Note 7 - Noncontrolling Interests and Note 8 - Variable Interest Entities for additional information.
All of our U.S. and New Zealand land or leasehold sales, including HBU and non-HBU, are reported in our Real Estate segment. We report our Real Estate sales in six categories:
•Timberland & Non-Strategic,
•Large Dispositions, and
The Improved Development category comprises properties sold for development for which we, through a taxable REIT subsidiary, have invested in site improvements such as infrastructure, roadways, utilities, amenities and/or other improvements designed to enhance marketability and create parcels, pads and/or lots for sale.
The Unimproved Development category comprises properties sold for development for which we have not invested in site improvements.
The Rural category comprises all real estate sales (excluding development sales) representing a demonstrable premium above timberland value.
The Timberland & Non-Strategic category includes all U.S. and New Zealand real estate sales representing little to no premium to timberland value. This category consists primarily of sales of property that management views as non-strategic to our long-term portfolio as well as sales of property for capital allocation purposes that do not fit the definition of a Large Disposition.
The Large Dispositions category includes sales of timberland that exceed $20 million in size and do not have a demonstrable premium relative to timberland value. Proceeds from Large Dispositions are generally used to fund capital allocation priorities, such as share repurchases, debt repayment or acquisitions. Sales designated as Large Dispositions are excluded from cash flow from operations and the calculation of Adjusted EBITDA and Cash Available for Distribution (“CAD”). See Item 7 — Performance and Liquidity Indicators for the definition of Adjusted EBITDA and CAD.
We maintain a detailed land classification analysis for all of our timberland and HBU acres. The vast majority of our HBU properties are managed as timberland and generate cash flow from timber operations prior to their sale or, in the case of Improved Development properties, prior to improvement.
Conservation Easements are the sale of development rights, which preclude future development on the underlying land but reserve our rights to continue to grow and harvest timber.
Our Trading segment primarily reflects log trading activities in New Zealand and Australia conducted by our New Zealand subsidiary. Our Trading segment complements the New Zealand Timber segment by providing added market intelligence, increasing the scale of export operations and achieving cost savings that directly benefit the New Zealand Timber segment. This additional market intelligence also benefits our Southern and Pacific Northwest export log marketing efforts.
Our New Zealand subsidiary conducts export sales through a joint venture, which arranges sales shipping and export documentation services for an agency fee. The New Zealand subsidiary, in turn, provides support services on a cost recovery basis to the joint venture. Through the use of the joint venture, we are able to increase scale efficiencies, market presence and cost savings in both the Timber and Trading segments.
In addition to our direct export business, we also engage in log trading activities, which generally involve the procurement of third-party logs in order to gain scale efficiencies in our export operations. For procured logs, the New Zealand subsidiary buys logs directly from other forest owners at New Zealand ports and exports them through an agency agreement with the export service joint venture. Income from this business is generated by achieving a sales margin over the purchase price of the procured logs. Revenue generated from procured log sales reflects the full sales price of the logs and is recorded as timber sales within the Trading segment. The New Zealand subsidiary, through the Trading segment, also purchases standing timber from time to time, whereby it manages the harvest and sale of the logs for approximately one to three years. In these instances, the cost of standing timber is capitalized as a current asset on the Consolidated Balance Sheets and recognized as non-depletion cost of sales when sold.
In 2021, Trading volume was approximately 706,000 tons. Of this volume, approximately 511,000 tons were purchased directly from third parties in New Zealand, 70,000 tons were sourced from outside New Zealand, (primarily Australia), and the remaining 125,000 tons were harvested from stumpage purchases and managed harvest arrangements. Approximately 86% of third-party purchases in New Zealand were purchased at spot prices, with the New Zealand subsidiary thereby assuming some price risk on subsequent resale. The remaining 14% were purchased on a fixed margin basis, with the New Zealand subsidiary earning either a fixed percentage of the net export revenue or a spread on the resale price irrespective of subsequent price fluctuations. The New Zealand subsidiary generally seeks to mitigate its risk of loss on procured logs by securing export orders prior to or concurrent with its spot purchases of logs.
FOREIGN SALES AND OPERATIONS
Sales from non-U.S. operations occur in our Real Estate, New Zealand Timber and Trading segments and comprised approximately 34% of consolidated 2021 sales. See Note 3 — Segment and Geographical Information for additional information.
Timber markets in our Southern and Pacific Northwest regions are relatively fragmented with price being the principal method of competition. In New Zealand, there are five other major private timberland owners accounting for approximately 36% of New Zealand planted forests.
The following table provides an overview of certain major competitors in each of our Timber segments:
|Southern Timber (a)||Weyerhaeuser Company|
|CatchMark Timber Trust|
|Hancock Timber Resource Group|
|Resource Management Service|
|Forest Investment Associates|
|Pacific Northwest Timber (a)||Weyerhaeuser Company|
|Hancock Timber Resource Group|
|Green Diamond Resource Company|
|Port Blakely Tree Farms|
|State of Washington Department of Natural Resources|
|Bureau of Indian Affairs|
|New Zealand (b)||Manulife Investment Management Timberland and Agriculture Inc.|
(a) In addition to the competitors listed, we also compete with numerous other large and small privately held timber companies.
(b)The New Zealand subsidiary competes with these and other smaller New Zealand timber companies for supply into New Zealand domestic and export markets, predominantly China, South Korea and India. Logs supplied into Asian markets also compete with export supply from other regions, including Europe, North America and Australia.
In our Real Estate business, we compete with other owners of entitled and unentitled properties. Each property has unique attributes, but overall quantity of supply and price for residential, commercial, industrial and rural properties in the geographic areas in which we operate are the most significant competitive drivers.
Our log trading operations are primarily based out of New Zealand and performed by our New Zealand subsidiary. The New Zealand market remains very competitive with over 15 entities competing for export log supply at different ports across the country. We are one of the larger log trading companies in the region with access to multiple export ports and a range of different export markets.
In 2021, no individual customer (or group of customers under common control) represented 10% or more of 2021 consolidated sales.
Across all our segments, results are normally not impacted significantly by seasonal changes. However, significant wet weather in areas of our Southern Timber operations can hinder access for harvesting, thereby temporarily reducing supply in the affected areas and generally strengthening prices. Conversely, extended dry weather in an area tends to suppress prices as timber is more accessible for harvesting.
GOVERNMENTAL REGULATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS
We are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations in the United States and New Zealand that could affect our business, including those promulgated under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Washington Forest Practices Act, New Zealand Resource Management Act, New Zealand Health and Safety At Work Act and various other environmental and safety laws and regulations. Our operations also are subject to various international trade agreements, tariffs, taxes and regulations. While we believe that we are in compliance in all material respects with all applicable governmental regulations, current governmental regulations may change or become more stringent or unforeseen events may occur, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
We are aware of hazardous substances at a former sawmill site located in Port Gamble, Washington, which we acquired as part of our acquisition of Pope Resources. We have been identified as a “potentially liable party” at the Port Gamble site and are presently working on cleanup and remediation under the Washington Model Toxics Control Act, as well as the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act programs. We have determined that a liability has been incurred and that the amount of the loss can reasonably be estimated. Accordingly, we have accrued amounts on our balance sheet for losses related to this site. Compliance with environmental laws and regulations and our remedial environmental obligations historically have not had a material impact on our operations, and we are not aware of any proposed regulations or remedial obligations that could trigger significant costs or capital expenditures in connection with such compliance.
We have elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal tax purposes pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and related U.S. Treasury regulations and administrative guidance (“REIT Requirements”). We monitor and test our compliance with all REIT Requirements and believe that we are in compliance in all material respects with all such current requirements. In the event we are not in compliance, or in the event current REIT Requirements change in such a way as to preclude our continuing qualification as a REIT, such events could have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
Compliance with government regulations, including environmental regulations, has not had, and based on current information and the applicable laws and regulations currently in effect, is not expected to have a material effect on our capital expenditures, earnings or competitive position. However, laws and regulations may be changed, accelerated or adopted that impose significant operational restrictions and compliance requirements upon our company and which could negatively impact our operating results. See Item 1A - Risk Factors.
PORT GAMBLE ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION
The sections below provide a history of the environmental matters in Port Gamble, Washington:
Discovery and Initial Actions
In Port Gamble, Washington, hazardous substances were previously discovered requiring environmental remediation under federal and state environmental laws. The real estate subject to environmental remediation requirements was the location of a sawmill operated by Pope & Talbot, Inc. (“P&T”) from 1853 to 1995. P&T continued to lease various portions of the site for its operations until 2002. During the time P&T operated in Port Gamble, it also conducted shipping, log storage, and log transfer operations in the tidal and subtidal waters of Port Gamble Bay, some of which were under a lease from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) that lasted from 1974 to 2004. P&T’s operations resulted in the release of hazardous substances that impacted the upland and submerged portions of the site. These substances include various hydrocarbons, cadmium, and toxins associated with wood waste and the production of wood products.
Following the mill closure, the Washington State Department of Ecology (the “DOE”) began to examine the environmental conditions at Port Gamble. Under Washington law, both Pope Resources and P&T were considered by the DOE to be “potentially liable persons” (“PLPs”); Pope Resources because of its ownership of certain portions of the site, and P&T because of its historical ownership and operation of the site. P&T and Pope Resources entered into a settlement agreement in 2002 that allocated responsibility for environmental contamination at the townsite, millsite, a solid waste landfill, and adjacent water to Pope Resources, with P&T assuming responsibility for funding cleanup in the Port Gamble Bay and the other areas of the site that were impacted by its historical operations.
In 2005, both Pope Resources and P&T received Environmental Excellence Awards from DOE for their work in remediating the contamination that had existed at the Port Gamble townsite and landfill. DOE also issued letters to both parties in 2006 indicating that the agency expected to take no further action regarding conditions at those portions of the site. Pope Resources continued cleaning up the remaining contamination at the millsite. By late 2005, the millsite portion of the site had largely been cleaned and the remaining aspects of that project consisted of test well monitoring and modest additional remediation. The Port Gamble Bay area and related tidelands, for which P&T was responsible under the parties’ settlement agreement, had not yet been remediated. In 2007, P&T filed for bankruptcy protection and was eventually liquidated, leaving Pope Resources as the only remaining PLP. Because environmental liabilities are joint and several as between PLPs, the result of P&T’s bankruptcy was to leave the liability with Pope Resources as the only remaining solvent PLP.
Beginning in 2010, DOE began to reconsider its expectations regarding the level of cleanup that would be required for Port Gamble Bay, largely because of input from interested citizens and groups, one of the most prominent being the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. In response to input from these groups, DOE adopted remediation levels that were far more stringent than either DOE or Pope Resources had contemplated previously. In December 2013, Pope Resources and DOE entered into a consent decree that included a cleanup action plan (“CAP”) requiring the removal of docks and pilings, excavation and backfilling of intertidal areas, subtidal dredging and monitoring, and other specific remediation steps. The construction phase of the cleanup of the Port Gamble Bay area and related tidelands began in September 2015 and the in-water portion of the cleanup was completed in January 2017.
With the in-water portion of the cleanup completed, there is expected to be relatively modest cleanup activity on the millsite and a monitoring period. In February 2018, Pope Resources and DOE entered into an agreed order with respect to the millsite under which Pope Resources performed a remedial investigation and feasibility study (“RI/FS”), which it submitted to DOE for review in January 2019. Following the finalization of the RI/FS, Pope Resources worked with DOE to develop a CAP. As with the in-water portion of the project, the CAP will define the scope of the remediation activity for the millsite. The consent decree, which includes the CAP, was entered in Kitsap County Superior Court on November 25, 2020.
Natural Resources Damages
In addition to the cleanup costs discussed previously, certain environmental laws allow state, federal, and tribal trustees (collectively, the “Trustees”) to bring suit against property owners to recover natural resource damages (“NRD”). Similar to cleanup responsibility, liability for NRD can attach to a property owner simply because an injury to natural resources resulted from releases of hazardous substances on the owner’s property, regardless of culpability for the release. Trustees have alleged that Pope Resources had NRD liability because of releases that occurred on its property. Prior to the merger with Rayonier, Pope Resources began negotiations with the Trustees for the purpose of identifying NRD restoration projects. Those negotiations are ongoing and may ultimately result in agreement as to requested mitigation activities.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The research and development activities of our timber operations include genetics and tree improvement, soils and seedling production, biometrics and growth/yield, environmental sustainability (including protection of water, biodiversity, and threatened and endangered (T&E) species), and carbon and climate impact. We also contribute to research cooperatives that undertake forestry research and development.
INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
David L. Nunes, 60, Mr. Nunes joined the Company in June 2014 as Chief Operating Officer, and shortly thereafter assumed the role of President and CEO following the Company’s spin-off of its Performance Fibers business. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Nunes served as President and CEO of Pope Resources/Olympic Resource Management from 2002 to 2014. He joined Pope in 1997 as director of portfolio management. The following year, he was named Vice President of portfolio development, and then served two years as Senior Vice President of acquisitions and portfolio development before being named President and COO in 2000. Previously, Mr. Nunes spent nine years with the Weyerhaeuser Company, joining the organization in 1988 as a business analyst and advancing through a number of leadership roles to become director of corporate strategic planning. Mr. Nunes holds a Bachelors of Arts and Economics from Pomona College and an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.
Mark D. McHugh, 46, Mr. McHugh was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in December 2014. He was previously Managing Director in the Real Estate Investment Banking group at Raymond James, where he worked since 2008. Prior to joining Raymond James, Mr. McHugh was a Director in the Paper & Forest Products Group within the Investment Banking Division at Credit Suisse, where he worked from 2000 to 2008. Mr. McHugh received his B.S.B.A. in Finance from the University of Central Florida and his JD from Harvard Law School.
Douglas M. Long, 51, Mr. Long currently serves as Senior Vice President, Forest Resources. Previously, he served as Vice President, U.S. Operations from November 2014 to December 2015 and as Director, Atlantic Region, U.S. Forest Resources from March 2014 to November 2014. He joined the Company in 1995 as a GIS Forestry Analyst and has held multiple positions of increasing responsibility within the forestry division. Mr. Long holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida.
Christopher T. Corr, 58, Mr. Corr joined the Company in July 2013 and currently serves as Senior Vice President, Real Estate Development and President, Raydient LLC. Prior to joining Rayonier, he served as Executive Vice President, Buildings and Places for AECOM from 2008 to 2013. Prior to that, Mr. Corr held various positions with The St. Joe Company between 1998 and 2008, most recently as Executive Vice President. From 1992 to 1998, Mr. Corr was a senior manager with The Walt Disney Company, where he was a key member of the team that developed the visionary town of Celebration near Orlando, Florida. From 1990 to 1992, Mr. Corr served as an elected member of the Florida House of Representatives. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida and has completed programs with the Harvard Real Estate Institute and the Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania.
Mark R. Bridwell, 59, Mr. Bridwell was promoted to Vice President and General Counsel in June 2014 and assumed the role of Corporate Secretary in March 2015. He joined the Company in 2006 as Associate General Counsel for Performance Fibers. In 2009, he became Associate General Counsel for Timber and Real Estate and in 2012 was promoted to Assistant General Counsel for Land Resources. Prior to joining Rayonier, Mr. Bridwell served as counsel for six years at Siemens Corporation. Previously, he was an attorney for five years with the international law firms of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue and Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson. Mr. Bridwell has a B.S.B.A. in Finance from the University of Central Florida, and an MBA and JD from Emory University.
Shelby L. Pyatt, 51, Ms. Pyatt was named Vice President, Human Resources and Information Technology in July 2014. Ms. Pyatt joined Rayonier in 2003 as Manager, Compensation and became Director, Compensation and Employee Services in 2006. She was named Director, Compensation, Benefits and Employee Services in 2009 before being promoted to her current position. Prior to joining Rayonier, Ms. Pyatt held human resources positions with CSX Corporation and Barnett Bank. Ms. Pyatt holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
W. Rhett Rogers, 45, Mr. Rogers was appointed to Vice President, Portfolio Management in February 2017. Mr. Rogers oversees the Company’s acquisition and disposition activities, including HBU and non-strategic land sales, as well as its land information systems function. He joined Rayonier in 2001 as a District Technical Forester, and has held numerous roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as Director, Land Asset Management before being promoted to his current position. Mr. Rogers holds a BS in Forestry from Louisiana Tech University, and both an MBA and MS in Forest Resources from Mississippi State University.
April J. Tice, 48, Ms. Tice was promoted to Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer in April 2021. In this position, she acts as the Company’s principal accounting officer. She joined Rayonier in 2010 and has worked in various roles within the finance and financial reporting departments since that time. She previously served as Vice President, Financial Services and Corporate Controller before being promoted to her current position. Prior to joining Rayonier, Ms. Tice served in various accounting and/or audit roles at Deloitte & Touche, the State of Florida and two private companies located in Florida. Ms. Tice holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida State University and a Master of Accountancy with a tax concentration from the University of North Florida. Ms. Tice is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Florida.
Rayonier is committed to creating an engaging and rewarding employee experience, as well as making safety a priority in everything we do.
Our Culture and Employee Retention
We view our culture as an asset and believe that fostering a healthy culture is critical to achieving our goals of being the preferred employer in the forestry industry and retaining key talent. We use various means to encourage communication and information sharing across the organization.
Every two years we conduct a formal company-wide employee survey to provide anonymous feedback to management. Survey results are benchmarked against our third-party provider’s global database, shared with employees and also reviewed with our Board of Directors to help set non-financial goals for management.
The recruitment, retention and development of employees is essential to our success. We aim to provide employees with opportunities to build skills and grow professionally, while also offering competitive compensation commensurate with an individual’s experience, knowledge and performance. Our compensation packages consist of a base salary and an annual bonus. We also use targeted equity-based grants with a multiyear vesting schedule to help promote the retention of personnel and an ownership mentality across our organization. Our comprehensive benefits package includes medical, dental, vision, life, accident and disability. We also offer a health savings
account, a dependent care spending account and an employee assistance plan. Our 401(k) retirement savings plan includes company matching contributions as well as enhanced retirement contributions.
We offer a comprehensive approach to training and development which includes micro and on-demand learning, classroom programs, coaching and mentoring, cross-functional assignments and conferences. We also provide a tuition reimbursement program, which reimburses 80% of the costs of approved degree programs.
Safety is a way of life and a cornerstone of Rayonier’s culture — our key guiding principle is that all of our employees and contractors should return home safely each day. To that end:
•We employ a systematic, four-pronged approach to developing and assimilating our safety principles: set goals, communicate effectively, identify preventive measures and provide proper tools and training.
•We conduct meetings throughout our organization addressing key safety issues.
•We offer a variety of mandatory and optional safety courses each year in areas such as: defensive driving, proper chainsaw use, ATV safety, CPR certifications and first aid, emergency evacuation, slips, trips and falls, overhead hazards, fire prevention, internal reporting of safety incidents, general forestry requirements and various other safety topics.
We generally engage contractors to perform a number of critical functions, such as the planting of trees and the harvesting and hauling of logs. Our safety management programs are designed to use a collaborative approach to focus on both employee and contractor safety. For our employees, driving is generally deemed to be the most hazardous activity associated with our business given the geographic dispersion of our assets. However, for our contracted workforce, activities associated with tree felling, extraction of logs and log transportation are the most critical risk areas.
In New Zealand, we have a comprehensive safety management program that includes both employees and contractors pursuant to local laws and the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015. Similar industry practices and regulations do not exist in the United States for contractors. Nonetheless, in addition to our employee safety programs in the U.S., we have initiated programs with our U.S. contractors to better educate them on safe work practices. In 2021, 216 safety near miss reports were submitted and 531 contractor safety meetings were conducted.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained focused on protecting the health and safety of our employees and contractors, as well as their families and communities. Shortly after the outset of COVID-19, we implemented a work-from-home model for office employees and instituted enhanced safety and social distancing guidelines for field employees. This has enabled our company and industry to continue to supply essential forest products while optimizing workplace safety.
Our employee wellness program, Stay Strong, is designed to promote the overall health and well-being of our employees by providing education, resources, and a financial investment in our employees’ wellness. Stay Strong employs a comprehensive approach centered on four key areas: Health and Well-Being, Financial Wellness, Work-Life Balance and Emotional Health. This includes a comprehensive benefits package, flexible work arrangements and generous paid time off as well as specific workshops and programs tailored to locations.
Inclusion and Diversity
Rayonier is focused on promoting an inclusive and diverse workforce as we believe this plays an integral role in maintaining an engaging employee experience. As of December 31, 2021, we had 406 employees, 309 in the U.S. and 97 in New Zealand.
The following charts provide details on diversity at Rayonier as of December 31, 2021:
We are seeking to improve our gender and racial diversity and have initiated actions to increase the diversity of qualified candidates. To this end, alongside other initiatives, we have assembled an internal team to further enhance and improve our efforts around promoting a diverse and inclusive culture where all employees are supported, empowered and valued. This team will guide policy objectives within our organization and identify initiatives to help increase diversity within the broader forestry industry.
AVAILABILITY OF REPORTS AND OTHER INFORMATION
Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) or 14 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 are made available to the public free of charge in the Investor Relations section of our website, www.rayonier.com, shortly after we electronically file such material with, or furnish them to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Our corporate governance guidelines and charters of all committees of our board of directors are also available on our website. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Item 1A. RISK FACTORS
Our operations are subject to a number of risks. When considering an investment in our securities, you should carefully read and consider these risks, together with all other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If any of the events described in the following risk factors actually occur, our business, financial condition or operating results, as well as the market price of our securities, could be materially adversely affected.
ECONOMIC RISK FACTORS
An increase in the rate of inflation and monetary policy responses to such increases could negatively affect our stock price, results of operations and financial condition.
The recent acceleration of generalized inflation in the United States and global economies, should it persist, could adversely affect us. In particular, increases in the cost and availability of labor for us and our contractors could increase our costs, compress our margins and impact harvest levels. In addition, increases in energy and fuel costs could affect our results of operations. Energy costs are a significant operating expense for logging and hauling contractors who support us and the customers of our standing timber. The continued rapid rise in energy costs could have a negative effect on the cost and availability of such contractors. Additionally, such rapidly rising energy costs may have a negative impact on the cost of ocean freight for our exported products. Moreover, our selling, general and administrative costs could increase. More generally, an increase in inflation and interest rates could have an adverse impact on our cost of capital, which could impact the value of our long-lived assets, our ability to economically acquire additional assets, the cost of debt and the value of our equity. One of the factors that may influence the price of our common shares is our annual dividend yield as compared to the yields on other financial instruments. An increase in market interest rates could cause increases in discount rates and, accordingly, a decline in property values and total returns for timberland assets. Thus, an increase in market interest rates could result in higher yields on other financial instruments and could adversely affect the relative attractiveness of an investment in our equity and, accordingly, the trading price of our common shares. These macroeconomic factors impacting us are beyond our control and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and the value of our equity.
We are exposed to the cyclicality of the markets in which we operate and other factors beyond our control, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
In our Timber segments, the level of residential construction activity, including home repair and remodeling activity, is the primary driver of sawtimber demand. In addition, demand for logs can be affected by the demand for wood chips in the pulp and paper and engineered wood products markets, as well as the bio-energy production markets. The ongoing level of activity in these markets is subject to fluctuation due to future changes in economic conditions, inflation, interest rates, credit availability, population growth, weather conditions, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. Changes in global economic conditions, such as new timber supply sources and changes in currency exchange rates, foreign interest rates and foreign and domestic trade policies, can also negatively impact demand for our timber and logs. In addition, the industries in which our customers participate are highly competitive and may experience overcapacity or reductions in demand, all of which may affect demand for and pricing of our products.
In our Real Estate segment, our inability to sell our HBU properties at attractive prices could have a significant effect on our results of operations. Demand for real estate can be affected by the availability of capital, changes in interest rates, availability and terms of financing, changes in governmental agencies, changes in developer confidence, actions by conservation organizations, actions by anti-development organizations, our ability to obtain land use entitlements and other permits necessary for our development activities, local real estate market economic conditions, competition from other sellers of land and real estate developers, the relative illiquidity of real estate investments, employment rates, new housing starts, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, population growth, demographics and federal, state and local land use, zoning and environmental protection laws or regulations (including any changes in laws or regulations). In addition, changes in investor interest in purchasing timberlands could reduce our ability to execute sales of non-strategic timberlands.
These macroeconomic and cyclical factors impacting our operations are beyond our control and, if such conditions deteriorate, could have an adverse effect on our business.
The industries in which we operate are highly competitive.
The markets in which we operate are highly competitive, and we compete with companies that have substantially greater financial resources than we do in each of these businesses. The competitive pressures relating to our Timber segments are primarily driven by quantity of product supply and quality of the timber offered by competitors in the domestic and export markets, each of which may impact pricing. With respect to our Real Estate segment, we compete with other owners of entitled and unentitled properties. Each property has unique attributes, but overall quantity of supply and price for residential, commercial, industrial and rural properties in the geographic areas in which we operate are the most significant competitive drivers. The markets in which our Trading segment operates are very competitive with numerous entities competing for export log supply at different ports across New Zealand.
OPERATIONAL RISK FACTORS
Weather, climate change and other natural conditions may limit our timber harvest and sales.
Weather conditions, changes in timber growth cycles, limitations on access (for example, due to prolonged wet conditions) and other factors, including damage by fire, insect infestation, disease, prolonged drought and natural disasters such as wind storms and hurricanes, may limit harvesting of our timberlands. Changes in the diversity of plants and trees due to fluctuations in temperature and rainfall patterns, could adversely impact the long-term growing conditions in our forests. The volume and value of timber that can be harvested from our timberlands may be reduced by any such occurrence and other causes beyond our control. As is typical in the forestry industry, we do not maintain insurance for any loss to our timber, including losses due to fire and these other causes. These and other factors beyond our control could reduce our timber inventory and our sustainable yield, thereby adversely affecting our financial results and cash flows.
Entitlement and development of real estate entail a lengthy, uncertain and costly governmental approval process, which could adversely affect our ability to grow the businesses in our Real Estate segment.
Entitlement and development of real estate entail extensive approval processes involving multiple regulatory jurisdictions. It is common for a project to require multiple approvals, permits and consents from U.S. federal, state and local governing and regulatory bodies. Any of these issues can materially affect the cost, timing and economic viability of our real estate projects. Moreover, the real estate entitlement process is frequently a political one, which involves uncertainty and often extensive negotiation and concessions in order to secure and maintain the necessary approvals and permits. In the U.S., a significant amount of our development property is located in jurisdictions in which local governments face challenging issues relating to growth and development, including zoning and future land use, public services, water availability, transportation and other infrastructure, concurrency requirements, affordable housing, land conservation efforts, and funding for same, and the requirements of state law. In addition, anti-development groups are active, especially in Florida and Washington, in filing litigation to oppose particular entitlement activities and development projects, and in seeking legislation and other anti-development limitations on real estate development activities. We expect this type of anti-development activity to continue in the future.
Entitlement and development of real estate are also subject to lengthy, uncertain and costly implementation processes. Large-scale developments may involve commitments from government agencies or third parties related to the delivery of infrastructure improvements (such as roads, bridges, sidewalks, water, sewer and other utilities), the certainty and timing of which are outside of our control.
Changes in the laws, or interpretation or enforcement thereof, regarding the use and development of real estate, changes in the political composition of state and local governmental bodies, impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the identification of new facts regarding our properties could lead to new or greater costs, delays and liabilities that could materially adversely affect our business, profitability or financial condition.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Epidemics, pandemics or other such crises or public health concerns in regions of the world where we have operations or sell products, could result in the disruption of our business. Specifically, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in increased travel restrictions and extended shutdowns of certain businesses around the world, as well as continued volatility in economic conditions. These or any governmental or other regulatory developments or health concerns in countries in which we operate or export to could result in operational restrictions or social and economic instability, or labor shortages. At this point in time, there is continued uncertainty relating to the potential impact of COVID-19 on our business. Infections may continue to spread, which could limit our ability to timely harvest, sell and transport our timber, increase our costs, restrict our operations or cause supply chain disruptions for us and our customers. In addition, we also face risks and costs associated with implementation of business continuity plans and modified work conditions, including making required resources available to our workforce to enable them to continue essential work. Any of these developments could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and operating results. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic could continue to adversely affect the economies and markets of many countries, resulting in further economic volatility that could impact the pricing or demand for timber, real estate, and especially housing, which could have an adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition, as well as market value of our securities. Further, our customers may be negatively impacted due to disruptions in business and operating conditions and constraints on their own liquidity and access to capital relating to COVID-19, which could increase our counterparty credit exposure. The continued spread of COVID-19 has also led to disruption and volatility in the global capital markets. This could lead to further volatility in interest and exchange rates, increase our cost of capital, and adversely impact our access to capital, credit ratings or overall liquidity.
We depend on third parties for logging and transportation services and increases in the costs or decreases in the availability of quality service providers could adversely affect our business.
Our Timber segments depend on logging and transportation services provided by third parties, both domestically and internationally, including by railroad, trucks and/or ships. If any of our transportation providers were to fail to deliver timber supply or logs to our customers in a timely manner, or were to damage timber supply or logs during transport, we may be unable to sell it at full value, or at all. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced disruptions in the supply, and rapid inflation in the cost, of transportation and labor in connection with timber harvesting and delivery. Tight job markets have increased the difficulty and cost of attracting and retaining sufficient skilled labor for logging and transportation. Accordingly, our timber harvesting volumes and realized margins have been negatively impacted in certain markets. As demand for timber has accelerated with the recovery in U.S. and New Zealand housing starts, the lack of adequate supply of logging contractors has resulted in sharp increases in logging costs and at times slowed deliveries. It is expected that the supply of qualified logging contractors will be impacted by the availability and cost of debt financing for equipment purchases as well as the limited availability of adequately trained loggers. As housing starts continue to recover, harvest levels are expected to increase, placing more pressure on the existing supply of logging contractors. Any significant failure or unavailability of third-party logging or transportation providers, or further increases in transportation rates, labor rates and/or fuel costs, may result in higher logging costs or the inability to capitalize on stronger log prices to the extent logging contractors cannot be secured at a competitive cost. Such events could harm our reputation, negatively affect our customer relationships and adversely affect our business.
We are subject to risks associated with doing business outside of the U.S.
Although the majority of our customers are in the U.S., a significant portion of our sales are to end markets outside of the U.S., including China, South Korea, Japan, India, and New Zealand. The export of our products into international markets results in risks inherent in conducting business pursuant to international laws, regulations and customs. We expect that international sales will continue to contribute to future growth. The risks associated with our business outside the U.S. include:
•changes in and reinterpretations of the laws, regulations and enforcement priorities of the countries in which our products are sold;
•responsibility to comply with anti-bribery laws such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar anti-bribery laws in other jurisdictions;
•trade protection laws, policies and measures and other regulatory requirements affecting trade and investment, including loss or modification of exemptions for taxes and tariffs, imposition of new tariffs and duties and import and export licensing requirements;
•continuing negative impacts from the imposition and/or threatened imposition of substantial tariffs on forest products imports into China in connection with trade tensions between China and the U.S.;
•business disruptions arising from public health crises and outbreaks of communicable diseases, especially in China, including the outbreak of the virus known as the novel coronavirus;
•difficulty in establishing, staffing and managing non-U.S. operations;
•product damage or losses incurred during shipping;
•potentially negative consequences from changes in or interpretations of tax laws;
•economic or political instability, inflation, recessions and interest rate and exchange rate fluctuations; and
•uncertainties regarding non-U.S. judicial systems, rules and procedures;
These risks could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our estimates of timber inventories and growth rates may be inaccurate, which could impair our ability to realize expected revenues.
We rely upon estimates of merchantable timber inventories (which include judgments regarding inventories that may be lawfully and economically harvested), timber growth rates and end-product yields when acquiring and managing working forests. These estimates, which are inherently inexact and uncertain in nature, are central to forecasting our anticipated timber revenues and expected cash flows. Growth rates and end-product yield estimates are developed using statistical sampling, harvest results and growth and yield modeling, in conjunction with industry research cooperatives and by in-house forest biometricians, using measurements of trees in research plots spread across our timberland holdings. The growth equations predict the rate of height and diameter growth of trees so that foresters can estimate the volume of timber that may be present in a tree stand at a given age. Tree growth varies by species, soil type, geographic area, and climate. Errors in or inappropriate application of growth equations in forest management planning may lead to inaccurate estimates of future volumes. If the assumptions we rely upon change or these estimates are inaccurate, our ability to manage our timberlands in a sustainable or profitable manner may be diminished, which may cause our results of operations and our stock price to be adversely affected.
Our businesses are subject to extensive environmental laws and regulations that may restrict or adversely affect our ability to conduct our business.
Environmental laws and regulations are constantly changing and are generally becoming more restrictive. Laws, regulations and related judicial decisions and administrative interpretations affecting our business are subject to change, and new laws and regulations are frequently enacted. These changes may adversely affect our ability to harvest and sell timber, remediate contaminated properties and/or entitle real estate. These laws and regulations may relate to, among other things, the protection of timberlands and endangered species, recreation and aesthetics, protection and restoration of natural resources, surface water quality, timber harvesting practices, and remedial standards for contaminated property and groundwater. Over time, the complexity and stringency of these laws and regulations have increased and the enforcement of these laws and regulations has intensified. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has pursued a number of initiatives that, if implemented, could impose additional operational and pollution control obligations on industrial facilities like those of Rayonier’s customers, especially in the area of air emissions and wastewater and stormwater control. Similarly, legislation currently under consideration in Oregon seeks to add significant buffers and riparian management zones adjacent
to streams, the effect of which would be to reduce the areas within which we may harvest. In addition, as a result of certain judicial rulings and state and federal initiatives, including some that would require timberland operators to obtain permits to conduct certain ordinary course forestry activities, silvicultural practices on our timberlands could be impacted in the future. Environmental laws and regulations will likely continue to become more restrictive and over time could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If regulatory and environmental permits are delayed, restricted or rejected, a variety of our operations could be adversely affected. We are required to seek permission from government agencies in the states and countries in which we operate to perform certain activities related to our properties. Any of these agencies could delay review of, or reject, any of our filings. In our Southern Timber, Pacific Northwest Timber and New Zealand Timber segments, any delay associated with a filing could result in a delay or restriction in replanting, thinning, insect control, fire control or harvesting, any of which could have an adverse effect on our operating results. For example, in Washington State, we are required to file a Forest Practice Application for each unit of timberland to be harvested. These applications may be denied, conditioned or restricted by the regulatory agency. Actions by the regulatory agencies could delay or restrict timber harvest activities pursuant to these permits. Delays or harvest restrictions on a significant number of applications could have an adverse effect on our operating results.
Environmental groups and interested individuals may seek to delay or prevent a variety of operations. We expect that environmental groups and interested individuals will intervene with increasing frequency in the regulatory processes in the states and countries where we own, lease or manage timberlands. For example, in Washington State, environmental groups and interested individuals may appeal individual forest practice applications or file petitions with the Forest Practices Board to challenge the regulations under which forest practices are approved. These and other challenges could materially delay or prevent operations on our properties. For example, interveners at times may bring legal action in Florida in opposition to entitlement and change of use of timberlands to commercial, industrial or residential use. Delays or restrictions due to the intervention of environmental groups or interested individuals could adversely affect our operating results. In addition to intervention in regulatory proceedings, interested groups and individuals may file or threaten to file lawsuits that seek to prevent us from obtaining permits, implementing capital improvements or pursuing operating plans. Any threatened or actual lawsuit could delay harvesting on our timberlands, affect how we operate or limit our ability to modify or invest in our real estate. Among the remedies that could be enforced in a lawsuit is a judgment preventing or restricting harvesting on a portion of our timberlands.
Third-party operators may create environmental liabilities. We lease and/or grant easements across some of our properties to third-party operators for the purpose of operating communications towers, generating renewable energy (wind and solar), operating pipelines for the transport of gases and liquids, and exploring, extracting, developing and producing oil, gas, rock and other minerals. These activities are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations. These operations may also create risk of environmental liabilities for an unlawful discharge of oil, gas, chemicals or other materials into the air, soil or water. Generally, these third-party operators indemnify us against any such liability, and we require that they maintain liability insurance to the extent practical to do so. However, if for any reason our third-party operators are not able to honor their obligations to us, or if insurance is not in effect, then it is possible that we could be responsible for costs associated with environmental liabilities caused by such third-party operators.
The impact of existing regulatory restrictions on future harvesting activities may be significant. U.S. federal, state and local laws and regulations, as well as those of other countries, which are intended to protect threatened and endangered species, as well as waterways and wetlands, limit and may prevent timber harvesting, road building and other activities on our timberlands. Restrictions relating to threatened and endangered species apply to activities that would adversely impact a protected species or significantly degrade its habitat. The size of the restricted area varies depending on the protected species, the time of year and other factors, but can range from less than one acre to several thousand acres. A number of species that naturally live on or near our timberlands, including, among others, the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, several species of salmon and trout in the Pacific Northwest, and the red cockaded woodpecker, red hills salamander, Louisiana pine snake and eastern indigo snake in the Southeast, are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act (the “ESA”) or similar U.S. federal and state laws. A significant number of other species, such as the southeastern gopher tortoise are currently under review for possible protection under the ESA. As we gain additional information regarding the presence of threatened or endangered species on our timberlands, or if other regulations, such as those that require buffers to protect water bodies, become more restrictive, the amount of our timberlands subject to harvest restrictions could increase.
We formerly owned or operated or may own or acquire timberlands or properties that may require environmental remediation or otherwise be subject to environmental and other liabilities. We owned or operated manufacturing facilities and discontinued operations that we do not currently own, and we may currently own or may acquire timberlands and other properties in the future that are subject to environmental liabilities, such as remediation of soil, sediment and groundwater contamination and other existing or potential liabilities. In connection with the spin-off of our Performance Fibers business in 2014, and pursuant to the related Separation and Distribution Agreement between us and Rayonier Advanced Materials, Rayonier Advanced Materials has assumed any environmental liability of ours in connection with the manufacturing facilities and discontinued operations related to the Performance Fibers business and has agreed to indemnify and hold us harmless in connection with such environmental liabilities. However, in the event we seek indemnification from Rayonier Advanced Materials, we cannot provide any assurance that a court will enforce our indemnification right if challenged by Rayonier Advanced Materials or that Rayonier Advanced Materials will be able to fund any amounts for indemnification owed to us. In addition, the cost of investigation and remediation of contaminated timberlands and properties that we currently own or acquire in the future could increase operating costs and adversely affect financial results. We could also incur substantial costs, such as civil or criminal fines, sanctions and enforcement actions (including orders limiting our operations or requiring corrective measures, installation of pollution control equipment or other remedial actions), clean-up and closure costs, and third-party claims for property damage and personal injury as a result of violations of, or liabilities under, environmental laws and regulations related to such timberlands or properties.
REIT AND TAX-RELATED RISK FACTORS
Loss of our REIT status would adversely affect our cash flow and stock price.
We intend to continue to operate in accordance with REIT requirements pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and related U.S. Treasury regulations and administrative guidance. Qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex provisions of the Code, which are subject to change, perhaps retroactively, and which are not within our control. We cannot assure that we will remain qualified as a REIT or that new legislation, U.S. Treasury regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions will not significantly affect our ability to remain qualified as a REIT or the U.S. federal income tax consequences of such qualification.
We continually monitor and test our compliance with all REIT requirements. In particular, we regularly test our compliance with the REIT “asset tests,” which require generally that, at the close of each calendar quarter: (1) at least 75% of the market value of our total assets must consist of REIT-qualifying interests in real property (such as timberlands), including leaseholds and options to acquire real property and leaseholds, as well as cash and cash items and certain other specified assets, (2) no more than 25% of the market value of our total assets may consist of other assets that are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% test in clause (1) above, and (3) no more than 20% (25% for calendar years prior to 2018) of the market value of our total assets may consist of the securities of one or more “taxable REIT subsidiaries.” As of December 31, 2021, Rayonier is in compliance with these asset tests.
If in any taxable year we fail to qualify as a REIT and are not entitled to relief under the Code, we will not be allowed a deduction for dividends paid to shareholders in computing our taxable income and we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our REIT taxable income. In addition, we will be disqualified from qualification as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which the qualification was lost, unless we are entitled to relief under certain provisions of the Code. As a result, our net income and the cash available for distribution to our shareholders could be reduced for up to five years or longer, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
If we fail to remain qualified as a REIT, we may also need to borrow funds or liquidate some investments or assets to pay any resulting additional tax liability. Accordingly, cash available for distribution to our shareholders would be reduced.
Certain of our business activities are potentially subject to prohibited transactions tax.
As a REIT, we will be subject to a 100% tax on any net income from “prohibited transactions.” In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property to customers in the ordinary course of business. Sales of logs, and dealer sales of timberlands or other real estate, constitute prohibited transactions unless the sale satisfies certain safe harbor provisions in the Code.
We intend to avoid the 100% prohibited transactions tax by complying with the prohibited transaction safe harbor provisions and conducting activities that would otherwise be prohibited transactions through one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries. We may not, however, always be able to identify timberland properties that become part of our “dealer” real estate sales business. Therefore, if we sell timberlands which we incorrectly identify as property not held for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, we may be subject to the 100% prohibited transactions tax.
Failure of Operating Partnership to maintain status as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
We believe our Operating Partnership qualifies as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a partnership, our Operating Partnership is not subject to U.S. federal income tax on its income. Instead, each of the partners is allocated its share of our Operating Partnership’s income. We cannot assure you, however, that the IRS will not challenge the status of our Operating Partnership as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If the IRS were to successfully challenge the status of our Operating Partnership as a partnership, it would be taxable as a corporation. In such event, this would reduce the amount of distributions that our Operating Partnership could make, which could have further implications as to our ability to maintain our status as a REIT. This would substantially reduce our cash available to pay distributions and the return on a unitholder and/or shareholder’s investment.
Our cash dividends and Operating Partnership distributions are not guaranteed and may fluctuate.
Generally, REITs are required to distribute 90% of their ordinary taxable income, but not their net capital gains income. Accordingly, we do not generally believe that we are required to distribute material amounts of cash since substantially all of our taxable income is generally treated as capital gains income. However, a REIT must pay corporate level tax on its undistributed taxable income and capital gains.
Our Board of Directors, in its sole discretion, determines the amount of quarterly dividends to be paid to our shareholders based on consideration of a number of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, our results of operations, cash flow and capital requirements, economic conditions, tax considerations, borrowing capacity and other factors, including debt covenant restrictions that may impose limitations on cash payments, future acquisitions and divestitures, harvest levels, changes in the price and demand for our products and general market demand for timberlands, including those timberland properties that have higher and better uses. Consequently, our dividend levels may fluctuate. Because our Operating Partnership distributions are aligned with the dividend, such distributions may also fluctuate.
Lack of shareholder ownership and transfer restrictions in our articles of incorporation may affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.
In order to qualify as a REIT, an entity cannot have five or fewer individuals who own, directly or indirectly after applying attribution of ownership rules, 50% or more of the value of its outstanding shares during the last six months in each calendar year. Although it is not required by law or the REIT provisions of the Code, almost all REITs have adopted ownership and transfer restrictions in their articles of incorporation or organizational documents which seek to assure compliance with that rule. While we are not in violation of the ownership rules, we do not have, nor do we have any current plans to adopt, share ownership and transfer restrictions. As such, the possibility exists that five or fewer individuals could acquire 50% or more of the value of our outstanding shares, which could result in our disqualification as a REIT.
GENERAL RISK FACTORS