11 Apr 2011

Farmers revamp wool co-operative plan

6:13 am on 11 April 2011

Farmers working on a fresh bid to set up a new wool supply and marketing co-operative are hoping to have a capital raising plan ready to roll out by late next month.

They have been encouraged by farmer feedback to have another go after failing in the first attempt to get the level of wool supply and financial commitment needed from growers to buy the assets of Wool Partners International.

The company reverted to full ownership by PGG Wrightson last month. But at its first meeting last week, the new board of WPI reaffirmed it's still keen to have sheep farmers take ownership.

A spokesman for the group planning the revamped co-operative bid, Banks Peninsula farmer Mark Shadbolt, says a survey of farmers has confirmed strong support for acquiring at least majority control.

He says they aim to ultimately get more than 50% of the growers supporting the co-operative.

Mr Shadbolt says the new co-operative would accept wool from all growers, not just the shareholders.

WPI bid

He says Wool Partners International has also put in a bid for the majority shareholding of the country's biggest wool exporter and scourer, New Zealand Wool Services International.

Those shares are on the market after the owner Plum Duff, was put into receivership.

If that succeeded, it would become part of an integrated wool supply and marketing venture that would eventually aim to handle more than half the country's strong or carpet wool clip.