Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seeking Alpha: Patient Investors Get A Crack At Plum Creek Timber

Timberland investing has become one of the more popular "open secrets" of institutional investing - numerous papers have been published comparing the long-term value and performance of investments in timberland to other asset classes, and timberland has often come out looking quite good. Not surprisingly, that has led to institutional dollars flowing into the asset class, leading to quite a bit of volatility in the price (or value) per acre of this class of real estate.

While investing in timberland itself is not very easy for the average investor, REITs like Plum Creek Timber (PCL) offer an appealing alternative. While Plum Creek (and comparables including Weyerhaeuser (WY), Rayonier (RYN), Deltic (DEL), and Potlatch (PCH)) are not pure plays on timber (many of them produce wood-based products and/or sell off lands for real estate development), they're as close as most investors will find, and the popularity of timber as an asset class has generally kept these shares well-valued.

Financial writers often talk about "waiting for a pullback" before buying a stock, and Plum Creek looks like it's offering just that sort of opportunity. With U.S. housing and real estate on the mend (albeit slowly), more lumber going to China, and new opportunities for wood like fuel pellets, Plum Creek's long-term value looks solid. Even so, the shares are down sharply from the May 2013 high and flat for the year. Assigning an objective fair value to Plum Creek may be like nailing Jell-O to a tree, but I would argue that the shares are worth at least $54 today which, in combination with a nearly 4% dividend yield, makes this a stock worth consideration today.

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Patient Investors Get A Crack At Plum Creek Timber

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