4 Nov 2011

Investor deadline extended

6:09 am on 4 November 2011

Promoters of a plan to unify parts of the wool industry in a farmer-controlled marketing structure are continuing their efforts to get investor backing after extending the deadline.

Wool Co, a joint venture between Wool Equities Ltd and Ocean Partners, an investment bank in Christchurch, is seeking to raise $40 million from farmers and other investors to buy the majority shareholding in Wool Services International.

WSI is the country's biggest wool exporter.

Because of postal delays in getting information to potential investors, Wool Co has extended its deadline for offers to 9 December and is holding further meetings.

Chair Cliff Heath says most farmers support the concept, even if they're not all committing themselves financially, yet.

He says it would enable growers to form something that would look like Zespri, with a strong market presence through the existing Wool Services marketing arm, with about 30% of the wool in the market linked directly back to farmers.

Federated Farmers' Meat & Fibre council chair Jeanette Maxwell says farmers are feeling a little battle weary after having a number of wool reform proposals pitched to them, but she says there was good discussion of the concept and farmer representatives will be giving it serious thought.