Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers to appoint Keith Lamb as MD in development transition to export operations

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (ASX:KPT) has initiated a long-planned transition to port construction, forestry production and export operations with the company selecting Keith Lamb to take over as managing director.

Subject to regulatory approvals and effective June 1, Lamb will take overall responsibility for the next phase in KPT’s shift to profitable and sustainable operations.

Current managing director John Sergeant will remain in an executive capacity, continuing as an executive director.

Lamb holds masters-level qualification in forestry and business administration, working as director of operations and portfolio manager for New Forests Asset Management Pty Ltd (New Forests) from 2005-2017.

In his New Forests role, he held responsibility for $2.5 billion in timberland and related agricultural and industrial assets.

Kangaroo Island chair Paul McKenzie said Sergeant had “driven growth of the company from a sub-scale timberland owner … to a sustainable producer of quality timber, poised to deliver a significant infrastructure project.

He continued: “During that time, KPT’s market capitalisation has grown from around $3 million to around $120 million.

“We thank John for his stewardship of the company and we are glad that he will continue to assist in the next stages of the company’s development.”

KPT requires a deepwater site relatively close to shore with berthing capabilities for large ocean-going vessels.

An environmental impact statement for the wharf was publicly exhibited last month, with Sergeant saying the company expected approval later this year.

The wharf is to be built on a sheltered north coast site that is closest practicable to the timber resource.

Sergeant said that KPT anticipating construction to begin by the end of the year and first timber exports in the first quarter of 2021.

Once the role is effectual, Lamb will be based in Adelaide focusing on KPT’s medium to long-term growth while Sergeant continues work on the current development approval process. 

McKenzie added: “Mr Lamb is one of the most respected forestry professionals in Australia, with a history of deploying institutional capital to create value for forest owners, and with a genuine commitment to the role that forestry can play in building resilient and prosperous regional communities.

He is the right person, at the right time and we are proud to have him as the new leader of the business.”