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Future of the strong wool industry in growers' hands
Nov '10
The critical moment is at hand when growers must determine the future of the strong wool industry in New Zealand. “In the next few days most of the nation's 12,500 strong wool growers need to decide whether they will unite to create an organisation with sufficient heft to create a viable future for wool,” says Jeff Grant Chairman of Wool Partners Co-operative Limited.

“Every grower is only too well aware of the alternative.”

Wool Partners Co-operative is seeking growers' wool and a subscription for shares in a 100 per cent grower-owned co-operative dedicated to improving returns for growers.

Subscriptions for the 65 million $1 shares close on Tuesday, 30 November 2010. Wool Partners Co-operative requires the support of growers of 50 per cent of the strong wool clip, or 65 million kilograms of greasy wool, to begin operations on 1 January 2011.

“This level of support is essential to create an organisation that has size and market power to bring about change. Without this level of support, Wool Partners Co-operative would be a minority player with insufficient influence to alter the dynamics of the industry in favour of growers,” Mr Grant says.

“Unity among growers is the critical element in the Wool Partners programme to reverse the long decline in returns that growers have been receiving.”

Mr Grant says he is confident Wool Partners Co-operative will meet the 65 million kilogram threshold to begin operations. Growers are being invited to subscribe for one $1 share for every kilogram of greasy wool produced with an initial payment of 20 cents with application on 30 November 2010.

“No cheques from growers will be cashed until we reach the 65 million kilogram level,” Mr Grant says.

Further payments of 20 cents a share are due in May 2011 and annually thereafter until May 2014.

“Support from growers at 100 meetings around the country in the last four weeks gives Wool Partners Co-operative the confidence that we will begin operation on 1 January. The questions have often been rigorous as growers sought assurances that the foundations of the co-operative are sound and that its ability to deliver a more prosperous outcome can withstand scrutiny.”

“Any grower who has further questions can call me, or access the Wool Partners website, www.woolpartners.com. The website has answers to many of the questions that have been posed during the roadshows, and responses to the welcome interest from other industry participants who are looking to understand their roles in the changed landscape that will emerge from a successful launch of the co-operative.”

In the remaining offer period, Wool Partners Co-operative directors will be meeting and talking to growers around the country.

Wool Partners Co-operative Limited

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