Company's strategy set out for shareholders

Wools of New Zealand personnel showcase the company's international position at the roadshow are ...
Wools of New Zealand personnel showcase the company's international position at the roadshow are (from left) British-based market development and innovation manager Steven Parsons, Britain's Camira Fabrics development director Cheryl Kindness, chairman Mark Shadbolt and chief executive Ross Townshend. Photo by Sally Brooker.
''Exciting opportunities'' have been outlined to Wools of New Zealand shareholders at a roadshow criss-crossing the country.

Chairman Mark Shadbolt updated the company's progress since it was capitalised in March, with more than 700 applications for shares worth just over $6 million.

''The important thing is you now own Wools of New Zealand and we've got a vehicle to go forward with,'' Mr Shadbolt told the 14 people at the Oamaru roadshow meeting on October 1.

''It's important to go beyond the farm gate.''

The company's objective was to build and protect brand values, with transparent feedback to woolgrowers from customers, he said.

''It's a targeted strategy, not generic. We're working with the market right out to the consumer. It's a five-year evolving strategy to develop a fully grower-owned development and marketing company.''

Wools of New Zealand was ''very protective'' of the capital it had raised and would not use any until it had found an investment with a return for the shareholder, he said.

It took five months to appoint new chief executive Ross Townshend from 62 applicants. He has been establishing relationships and collaborations in key markets around the world, which was ''really critical in this industry'', Mr Shadbolt said.

Mark Shadbolt
Mark Shadbolt
''We've made good progress in the 30 weeks since we capitalised. We've got the governance and management structure. Your support and patience are important.''

Mr Townshend said he has 40 years' experience in agribusiness of most types and is himself a shareholder in the company.

It still does not have enough wool supply, Mr Townshend said.

''The 'wait and see' people need to come on board now.''

He also wanted to ''find a way of determining price'', rather than taking whatever was offered.

Shareholders would be given exclusive access to ''cherry-picked'' markets for specific types and deliveries of wool, and were advised to take up a ''direct-to-scour sales opportunity'' with Wool Services International that would remove the broker's fee.

A contract to supply English business Camira Fabrics with lamb's wool was taken up by about 140 suppliers last year and has since grown, Mr Townshend said.

''For 2014, we want a much greater supply. We are cautiously optimistic we will be able to offer you a price over $6.''

Wools of New Zealand will hold its first annual general meeting in Gore on November 20, where Mr Shadbolt and fellow director Phil Guscott will retire by rotation and seek re-election. The annual meetings will be alternated between the North and South Islands.

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