NZ Merino Co in finalists cut

The New Zealand Merino Company and its chief executive John Brakenridge have been named as finalists in the 2013 New Zealand International Business Awards.

The awards are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the winners will be announced at a function in Auckland on September 26.

The New Zealand Merino Company is a finalist in the most innovative business model in international business category, while Mr Brakenridge is a finalist in the outstanding contribution to international business section.

Under his leadership, the company implemented a strategy to lift New Zealand merino out of the commodity basket.

Its strategy is to create demand for New Zealand merino fibre, meat and related products in high-value international niche markets.

The company handles about 80% of New Zealand's fine-wool clip, equating to $150 million in fibre sales, of which 70% last year were under long-term contracts.

In the last financial year, international sales totalled $151 million, a 26% increase on the previous year, and accounted for 92% of NZM's revenue.

Both Mid Canterbury-based Synlait Milk and West Coast-based Westland Milk Products are finalists in the best business operating internationally (over $50 million) category.

Westland Milk Products processes more than 600 million litres of milk annually and also produces dairy ingredients and finished products. It exports to more than 40 countries.

In the past four years, annual revenue has increased from $364 million to $534 million.

Synlait Milk, which processes about 550 million litres of milk a year, has increased its annual revenue to $377 million in four years of operation.


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