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AWI well placed to withstand global financial crisis
Nov '08
Australian Wool Innovation has brought in a healthy operating surplus of $5.5m and shareholders have been told that it is well placed to withstand the global financial crisis.

AWI Chief Executive Craig Welsh said the company had been prudent with its reserves and had moved millions of dollars out of floating investments into cash before the crisis hit.

As a result AWI had suffered no ill effects from the dip in global stock markets which have been prevalent throughout 2008.

"It was the right move at the right time and one which leaves AWI well placed to weather the economic uncertainty," Mr Welsh said.

Revenue for 2008 at $91m was $27m higher than 2007.

On a line by line basis, levy income was $45m versus $46.5 in 2007.

Government co-funding contribution was $12.3m up from $11.6m and Investment income was $5m up from $4.8m.

Combined with the lift in revenue, over $5m in costs were eliminated from the business with a further $4m plus in savings expected to be realised in 2009/10 when the impact of changes already underway are implemented.

"Management has significantly cut overheads to allow valuable dollars to be channelled towards marketing Australian Merino to the world," Mr Welsh said.

"These are dollars which will be saved year on year for the foreseeable future."

He told the Annual General Meeting that AWI had new goals, a new management team, a new strategic plan, new brand architecture and new relationships with key business partners, both at manufacturing and retail level, around the world.

"We have a new culture at AWI - it's a culture of accountability, driving results and making things happen in a much more dynamic global business environment," he said.

"We are now a global business with 18 overseas offices servicing more than 60 countries and several thousand Woolmark partners working with us on a business to business basis.

He said AWI had been investing in IT, to be faster, better and smarter.

"In particular, our customer relationship management program is connecting us with our business to business partners around the world and allowing us to more proactively service them," he said.

He said the new strategic plan was developed with input from Australian wool industry leaders, from our partners throughout the supply chains, endorsed by AWI's stakeholders and unanimously approved by the Board.

"We have built a business that will create sustainable long term demand for Australian Merino Wool," he said.

AWI's mission is to create new demand for Australian wool which I believe will positively impact the price that woolgrowers receive. Which is why we are positioning Australian Merino as an affordable luxury fibre. It's about getting the demand up, getting the volume up, getting the price up, and making growers and the industry more profitable and more certain to invest in the future.

Australian Wool Innovation(AWI)

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