All properties are titled in the Public Registry of Panama in
the name of the Foundation, free of lien.
Fundación Forestal Tupisa was founded under the pertinent laws
of Panama in 2003 for the purpose of acquiring the farm by
transfer from its previous corporate owners. A foundation enjoys
certain legal advantages over a corporation which were
attractive to the owners, such as more protection for its assets,
more confidentiality, no need for a license to operate, the
Founder can be the unique or one among several beneficiaries as
well as be on the Foundation Council, and others. The law firm
PEREZ-CARRERA Y CO. is the legal representative and Registered
Agent (a Panamanian legal requirement) of the Foundation. The
farm complies with all local laws: labor, health, and fiscal.
The audited legal books and general bookkeeping are constantly
updated. An annual report on the status of the plantation and
the investment involved is prepared which constitutes a detailed
technical and financial history of the farm and plantings from
1992 to the present. The Foundation and the finca are debt-free.
The farm is solely dedicated to reforestation and the trees are
registered in the name of Fundación Forestal Tupisa at the
national reforestation program center (Autoridad Nacional del
Ambiente, ANAM) under the Registro Forestal No. ARAD-007-2007.
This, along with Panama’s signatory participation in the Kyoto
Protocol of 1998, makes Finca Tupisa eligible for several tax
exonerations. Net gains from the sale of timber are tax-exempt
and the land where reforestation is carried out is exempt from
land taxes. Equipment used for reforestation projects may also
be imported tax-free under certain conditions. The annual Tasa
Unica (US$300) is not exempt.
The farm is currently managed by Alice I. Kittredge with the
technical assistance of Forestry Engineer Luis H. Cordoba and
the field assistance of Luis Zaera, and the services of an
accountant. There are three permanent on-site workers, one of whom
lives at the farm itself. There is an abundant labor force in
the area for all farming tasks at wages which average US$7-8 per
day. The staff visits the farm 1-2 times a month and there is
telephone communication three times a week with the permanent
worker who lives in Yaviza. This management team would be
available to assist a new owner if desired.
Most of Finca Tupisa’s wood is for the local market (cedars,
roble, espavé, cativo). The mahogany and teak are more
attractive to the international market. An estimated gross value
for the present plantings (excepting the newly planted teak) in
ten to twelve years, given an approximate value of US$250 per
25-30 year-old tree (minus the trees removed in two interim
thinnings), would be around US$7,000,000. The 4,800 newly
planted teak in ten to twelve years would have an appreciated (not
necessarily market) value of approximately US$300,000 and in
25-30 years an estimated gross value at US$275/tree (after
thinnings) of another US$1,000,000. The costs of thinning and
timbering are not estimated here.