Offer to wool growers extended

Wools of New Zealand has extended the deadline for its share offer to wool growers to February 25.

While the offer, which closed last Friday, had attracted ''positive support'', it remained short of the $5 million minimum level required, chairman Mark Shadbolt said.

Strong-wool growers had been asked to subscribe for shares at a ratio of one share for every 2kg of their annual strong-wool production, with a minimum subscription of 5000 shares at $1 per share.

The company's objective was to raise $10 million, although the offer would proceed with a minimum of $5 million.

Many growers had expressed concerns relating to the pre-Christmas workload not allowing enough time to make a considered decision, and financial pressure because of the low returns from both wool and lamb as well as current account pressure.

The extension would ensure growers were given as much time as possible to consider the offer, while the directors were ''committed and determined to start'', he said.

''The financial pressure that many growers find themselves under highlights the need for growers to do something for themselves, invest outside the farm gate and influence the long-term viability of the sheep industry,'' he said.

Additional considerations included discussions with corporate wool groups that required more time, the New Zealand Wool Services International share offer that would fall due at about the same time as the closing of the Wools of New Zealand prospectus allowing a possible transfer of funds, and growers indicating they would subscribe once their lamb cheques were received.

Mr Shadbolt said support for the prospectus had been ''overwhelmingly positive'' and the directors remained confident that growers would recognise the value in the commercial proposition and ''not let ownership of Wools of New Zealand slip from growers' hands''.

Rabobank's latest agribusiness review showed New Zealand fine and coarse crossbred and mid-micron prices traded within a narrow range through November.

Coarse crossbred prices improved 3c/kg over the month, while fine crossbred and mid-micron prices moved slightly lower.

New Zealand wool exports increased by 22.5% month-on-month in October to 10,400 tonnes but were slightly lower than October 2011.

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