Recreational buyers dominate Kimball auction

November 7, 2008

An auction yesterday of 9,422 acres of wooded property in southern Indiana owned by Kimball International Inc. was peppered with bidders who snapped up small tracts for recreational purposes.

The company's auction raised $15.6 million.

Seventy-two buyers paid an average of $1,654 per acre for tracts that averaged 130 acres each, according to auctioneer Woltz & Schrader.

Another 700 acres is being sold today by the Jasper-based furniture and electronics manufacturer.

However, today's and yesterday's auctions are expected to be dwarfed by the auction planned for tomorrow in Kentucky, where Kimball will put its final 11,759 acres on the block.

The property, which borders the Ohio River and has been the basis for a number of television hunting shows, is considered a target of potential bidders ranging from minerals companies to the state of Kentucky. Not only does the property have coal and natural gas reserves, but it also has limestone that can be quarried, Kimball spokesman Martin Vaught said.

Kimball is selling a total of 27,212 acres as part of an ongoing move away from logging, sawmills and other front-end processes for its furniture business. Kimball began accumulating the properties in 1963 as it vertically integrated operations in a system it once advertised as "From the tree to your home."

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