4 Sep 2009

New direction for wool investment company

1:08 pm on 4 September 2009

Wool Equities Ltd, a company set up to invest former Wool Board money on behalf of farmers, is now fully owned by farmers again.

A share buy-back offer, completed this week, has seen major non-farmer shareholders exit the company, along with some farmers. But the majority opted to leave their shares with WEL.

General manager James West says that will leave the company with about $2.5 million in cash assets, taking it above the threshold of $1.9 million that would have required the company to be wound up.

Mr West says that clears the way for a new board to move Wool Equities away from its focus on biotechnology, through the Keratec wool protein venture that's now been sold.

Most of the existing directors will resign, leaving the company in control of the farmer Wool Advancement Group, which strongly opposed the biotech investment.

New chairman-designate Cliff Heath says Wool Equities will use the funds remaining to shift its direction back to supporting new wool development ventures, which he believes was the original intention.

The new board will meet next week.