thanks for your answer. Unfortunately i'm neither in Custom Edit mode, nor do i have Camera Clipping enabled. I just do these following steps:
each tree returns "(matrix3 [1,0,0] [0,1,0] [0,0,1] [0,0,0])"
The whole time i'm not in Custom Edit mode also disabling camera clipping does not change the result in any way. I've tried several different machines and two major max versions (2012 and 2014) - no dice. Like i wrote in the first thread i need the full transformation (position, rotation and scale) to instance some trees in a realtime engine so i'm open to other workarounds, but there's got to be some way, right?