Seeking 'way forward'

The Milton woollen mill in 2011. Photo by ODT.
The Milton woollen mill in 2011. Photo by ODT.
Shareholders of Wool Equities Ltd, the parent company of Milton's Bruce Woollen Mill, have voted down a proposal to sell its shares in the mill.

Last month, at the annual meeting of Wool Equities Ltd, shareholders voted down three of four proposals from Wool Equities' major shareholder Primary Wool Co-Operative (PWC).

They were: to sell shares in the Bruce Woollen Mill; to write off Wool Equities' interest-bearing $574,253 loan to the mill; and to sell to the mill Wool Equities' investment in Town and Country Textiles.

After the meeting, PWC's Hamish de Lautour and Howard Gardner withdrew their nominations to be members of the Wool Equities board, following the retirement of chairman Clifford Heath, who did not seek re-election at the end of his rotation, leaving Wool Equities with only two board members and no quorum.

Director Anne Walsh said the board would seek to add a third member to reach a quorum, and hold a meeting ''as fast as possible'' with PWC to find a way ''together, forward''.

''[PWC] had a very clear view of how they thought things had to go forward; the Wool Equities directors pre-AGM had a different view,'' she said.

''Now that we've actually had the AGM and shareholders have given us their feedback ... we might find some sort of middle ground, or what we'd be looking to find is some sort of middle ground to drive the businesses forward.

''From an Otago point of view, it's all about securing Bruce Woollen Mill. It's the major impact on the financial results of Wool Equities and it's a key area of interest for [PWC] because that's where they've done some major investment on behalf of the farming community.''

In a press release, Wool Equities stated the year ended June 2014 had been ''extremely challenging ...

with continued pressure from imports in the yarn and finished textiles sector''.

The company recorded a net loss of $39,000, with a group loss of $890,000.

One of the three stated contributing factors to the loss was the operating losses of Bruce Woollen Mill.

The PWC proposal that did receive shareholder support was to sell Wool Equities' investment in Miltown Properties.

Bruce Woollen Mill is situated on Miltown Properties land.


At a glance . . .

Wool Equities Ltd is the parent company of:

• Bruce Woollen Mill Ltd (owns 63%)

• Romney Rugs Ltd (owns 50%)

• Miltown Properties Ltd (owns 50%)

• Town and Country Textiles (NZ) Ltd. (owns 100%)


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