IFO has just learned that Russian-based Ilim Timber Industry will acquire Tolleson Lumber, which operates sawmills in Perry and Preston, Ga. Tolleson, founded 92 years ago, has about 225 employees at its two plants and can produce more than 370 million board feet of lumber annually.
The company name will remain Tolleson Lumber, according to a press release. Rusty Wood, chairman of Tolleson said he was impressed by Ilim’s “vision.” Ilim said it wants to acquire more timber, too — more than 2 billion board feet in North America.
“Tolleson will become a cornerstone for further expansion in the U.S. which is part of our business strategy,” said Boris Zingarevich, chairman of Ilim. The Russian company, which has more than 3,000 employees, was founded in 2007. In 2010, it acquired two sawmills in Germany.
A Russian company bought an Oregon steel company a few years ago. The Oregon executives were also impressed by the new managers. Facebook doesn’t have Russian *owners* yet, but does have some hefty *partners* since Russians invested several millions of dollars in the social networking company.
It’s not just Russians buying up American companies. Back in 1988, Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank, bought a controlling stake in The First Boston Corporation, an American bank. The pace seems to be picking up – quite possibly a consequence of the Fed’s deliberately driving down the value of a dollar. (IFO’s watch value went up to $54.33 today – 11 cents in just a few days.)
IFO is not happy to see this trend. Though still a strong supporter of free trade, which includes buying and selling property, she would prefer to see smaller companies doing business in the world. Most of these purchases are creating larger – perhaps too big to fail? – companies. Many of the merging companies have close connections to their national governmental bureaucrats. Never a good sign.
IFO sees a big mess coming on.