7 Jul 2009

Farmer group hopes WEL shareholders will stay

2:42 pm on 7 July 2009

A sheep farmer lobby group campaigning to change the direction of the Wool Equities company is hoping farmer shareholders will stick with the company, now that it is restructuring.

Wool Equities (WEL) was set up to invest former Wool Board money on behalf of farmers in projects that would boost wool returns.

The company upset farmers' lobby organisation Wool Advancement Group when it became a biotechnology company, focusing on its Keratec business, developing health and cosmetic products from wool proteins.

However, Wool Equity has now sold the Keratec business, its shareholders voted last week to restructure the company, and it has offered a share buy-back arrangement for those who want to cash in their shares.

The aim is to move the company back to a wool development focus.

Wool Advancement Group spokesperson Cliff Heath says a minimum of $1.9 million needs to be left over after the share buy-back to effectively go ahead.

If farmers choose to stay with the company, he says, money will be there to pick up a small businesses, inject capital and build it into a great company.