17 Nov 2011

Wool Services International firms up plan to raise capital

6:56 am on 17 November 2011

Wool exporter and processor New Zealand Wool Services International has firmed up its intention to raise the money to buy its majority shareholding out of receivership.

The company says it's responding to shareholder concerns about the uncertainty facing Wool Services, as competing interests line up to bid for its shares and assets.

A farmer-led initiative Wool Co is trying to raise the money to buy the 63% of shares held by two companies now in receivership, so it can return WSI to farmer control.

The wool scour operator Cavalier Wool Holdings is also bidding for WSI's assets so it can create a scouring monopoly.

That move has been challenged in the High Court, which has yet to deliver its decision.

Wool Services' chairman Derek Kirke says many of its own shareholders, wool growers and some large corporate farming interests have indicated that they would support the company raising the capital itself.

But he says it won't be acting until the outcome of the court case is known and the receiver has indicated he's not in a position to do anything until then.

Mr Kirke says WSI is indicating to its shareholders and the investing public that it's ready to raise its own capital when the time is right.

Wool Co chairman Cliff Heath says he's puzzled by the WSI plan to do its own capital raising and he can only assume it doesn't want the company back in farmer hands.