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Gattung named chair of Wool Co. aimed at reviving industry

Thursday 17th July 2008

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Theresa Gattung, former chief executive of Telecom, was named chairwoman of The Wool Company, a venture designed to revive the fortunes of the fibre industry.

The announcement of a foundation board for the company comes after it agreed to buy PGW Wrightson's strong wools unit this week for NZ$37.5 million. Wrightson will own 40% of the company though its holding may be diluted by alliances with others in the industry, it said in a statement.

New Zealand produces 30% of the world's strong wool and The Wool Company wants to help create a less-fragmented industry, using that "to negotiate better deals," Gattung said at a pres conference in Wellington today.

Global prices for strong wool, used in products such as carpets, may be little changed from last year, Meat & Wool Economic Service predicted in its mid-season update. New Zealand's total 2007-2008 wool production may fall 1.3%, tracking a 2.5% decline in the national sheep flock amid gloomy sentiment for profitability.

Wrightson's Craig Norgate and James Aitken, chairman of The Wool Company's majority shareholder growers cooperative Wool Grower Holdings were also named directors, along with Aorangi Laboratories Alan McConnon, Bendigo Station's John Perriam and former investment banker Keith Sutton, it said.

By Jonathan Underhill

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