The sale of New Zealand's largest wool exporter to private
Australian interests is unlikely to sit well with its New
Zealand farmer-shareholders, but could provide a channel to
new global markets.
New Zealand Wool Services International is entering a new
era, after completion of its more than $30 million takeover
this week by Australian merino wool fashion specialist
Undercapitalised, partially in the hands of receivers and
facing two aggressive takeover bids, Wool Services staff and
management have been fighting at every turn for the past two
However, Lempriere had gained more than 90% of takeover
acceptances, the outstanding 7% now compulsorily acquired.
Wool Services' annual turnover is about $200 million. It
handles about 250,000 bales annually of scoured strong wool
destined for the carpet market, bales fetching an average of
Family-owned Lempriere is a specialist merino merchant with
businesses in the United States, Argentina and South Africa
and is a major supplier of fine wool to European, Japanese
and US fashion houses.
Lempriere's takeover bid was revealed in September last year,
the company having gained a 75% stake for $23.2 million,
including an 11% management stake worth $3.41 million, and
there was an additional $7.8 million on offer for the
outstanding 25% of shares it did not own at the time.
Wool Services chairman Derek Kirke said the takeover would
usher in a ''new era''. Lempriere had no intention of
''turning over'' its scouring assets to Cavalier, had no
company restructuring plans and would be an ''active owner'',
Mr Kirke said.
''They've a very large global wool structure, which will
strengthen the company [Wool Services].''
The Commerce Commission granted authorisation to Cavalier
Wool Holdings in 2011 to make an offer for Wool Services
wool-scouring assets, the scourer later confirming it was
planning capital raising in its attempt to buy the 64% of the
company, which was owned by Plum Duff and Woolpak Holdings
and under the control of a receiver. It is understood Wool
Services will be delisted within two months and its board