AUSTRALIAN agri-services wool and livestock business AWN will become the largest single shareholder in The New Zealand Merino Company in a deal set to conclude in April this year.
AWN is one of Australia’s largest agri-services businesses and has announced the acquisition of a 10.1 percent shareholding in the NZMC.
The purchase will be settled across three tranches between 16 December 2022 and 14 April 2023. The NZMC trades on the New Zealand Unlisted Securities Exchange.
A joint NZMC/AWN media release said the New Zealand company is a global leader in the marketing and sales of ethical wool. It also invests in various innovations across the primary sector.
AWN has for several years been sourcing wool for the NZMC’s ZQ program, which company said is regarded as the world’s leading ethical wool program, setting the highest standards for fibre quality, and animal welfare, as well as environmental and social responsibility.
Following the success of the ZQ program, NZMC has also launched ZQRX, a regenerative agriculture index that helps wool producers continuously improve human, animal and environmental outcomes, targeting the effects of global issues, such as climate change and loss of biodiversity, through regenerative practices.
NZMC chair Kate Morrison welcomed AWN to the NZMC share register.
“AWN has been an important strategic partner of NZMC for a number of years and a key component in our strategy for a greater presence in the Australian market.
“We see this move by AWN as a strong endorsement of the NZMC business and our ZQRX initiative in particular,” she said.
AWN managing director, John Colley, said the acquisition is of strategic significance to AWN.
“We see the value that NZMC and its ZQ and ZQRX programs will deliver not only to our business, but also to businesses throughout the supply chain, from the farm right through to the retailer, and to the consumer.
“We are cognisant that ethical, sustainable and now regenerative agriculture is a rapidly growing market, driven not only by consumer demand but also by the need to produce food and fibre more efficiently, not just in terms of efficacy for today, but also efficacy for the future,” he said.
“We are investing agriculture for today and we are investing in the future of food and fibre security.
AWN has been has expanding its reach across rural Australia, more recently into livestock marketing as well as wool broking, through a mixture of strategic acquisitions, greenfield operations and organic growth.
The business was founded as the wool specialist business Australian Wool Network in 1999 and as AWN grew to become the largest independent wool broker in Australia. AWN now offers wool, livestock and property services at an increasing number of locations across rural Australia.
Source – NZMC, AWN.