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Kiwi Apparel Brand In Multi-$Mn Acquisition Deal

Media release, Tuesday 29 June 2004


One of New Zealand's oldest iconic Kiwi apparel brands has been purchased in a multi-million dollar deal involving a group of investors with more than a century of industry experience between them.

Two senior Alliance Textile managers with the backing of private investors have purchased the Swanndri and Royal Wools brands from Alliance Textiles.

Swanndri is believed to be the oldest apparel brand in New Zealand with a history dating back to 1913 when it was first developed by Taranaki tailor, William Broome. Since then, only two other parties (Mr. John McKendrick and Alliance Textiles) have had ownership of the brand.

The new company ­ Swanndri New Zealand Limited ­ is expected to have an annual turnover approaching $10 million. It will have a sales and marketing base in Christchurch and will continue to be work with the current Alliance Textiles operation in Timaru.

In announcing the deal today, Chairman of the new Board, George Cowper says the new company has purchased all the Swanndri and Royal Wools assets including trademarks and stock, and land and buildings at the Timaru manufacturing operation that relate to the two brands.

The new company will continue to manufacture at the Timaru plant. Swanndri New Zealand Limited expects to employ between 35 and 40 people.

"Swanndri is part of New Zealand's heritage and is about as ŒKiwi' as you can get. The Swanndri brand has a story and a heritage that is unique and compelling; it is a New Zealand legend. It is real, it is authentic and it performs," says George Cowper.

"Some of the investors are ex-pat Kiwis who see the global potential for the brands and want to invest back into the New Zealand market. An iconic brand such as Swanndri is a business opportunity that as a group we weren't about to let slip through our fingers. This acquisition shows the faith of the purchasers in the company and the brands, the New Zealand economy and the potential for export growth."

"I am confident that the intrinsic value of this brand, combined with the credentials and strength of the staff, management team and Board of Directors, will be the essential elements in the company's success," concluded Mr. Cowper.


New Zealand's appeal in the global marketplace has never been stronger says the man who will be the Chief Executive of the new company, Swanndri New Zealand Ltd.

Julian Bowden is the current Marketing Manager ­ Apparel Products for Alliance Textiles. He and Gerard Kilpatrick, who is also a current employee of Alliance Textiles, will have a majority shareholding in the new company.

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime. We feel humbled and privileged at the opportunity and at the backing from our private investors who include high profile names in the trade such as George Cowper and Bryan Pearson," says Julian Bowden.

"Our long-term vision is to make Swanndri world famous; creating an international brand out of a ŒKiwi' icon. The potential for growth offshore is huge. New Zealand is currently enjoying a high profile offshore and Swanndri New Zealand Limited will be leveraging off that as part of the long-term business development plan. The United Kingdom and Australia will be key targets"

"Whilst the export market is a long-term focus, we are very conscious of getting it right here in New Zealand first. The client base is loyal and most have long histories with the brand. They are part of the Œfamily' and needed to be first on our priority list."

"We have formed a comprehensive sales strategy and we are already talking with our key clients about the future and some of the exciting product developments we are investigating."

Another focus for the new team will be the development of the Royal Wools brand.

"This brand has a strong potential in the bedding/blanket/decorative throw market. These products are primarily sold within the New Zealand market but like the Swanndri brands, export opportunities will be part of the long-term strategy," says Julian Bowden.


Swanndri is believed to be the oldest apparel brand in New Zealand and the new company will continue to harness that heritage in future product development and marketing.

The Swanndri brand and range of clothing dates back to 1913 when it was first developed by a Taranaki tailor, William Broome.

"The Swanndri brand today remains a strong and vibrant part of the New Zealand apparel industry. The move into a new range of lifestyle products for wear off the farm has extended Swanndri's position as an iconic Kiwi brand," says Gerard Kilpatrick who will be the Marketing Director in the new company.

"The Classic lines are functional and hard wearing and include the "103" bush shirt, jackets, vests, oilskins and jerseys and in recent times, high visibility orange and yellow jackets and vests. The range uses wool as it's cornerstone fabric but has been extended recently to include oilskin and some other technical fabrics to enhance product performance."

"We will be continuing with a comprehensive research and development programme that includes trialing new products and fabrics within the rural and industrial sectors."

"How many people have a Swannie hanging on the porch? It's part of our history. We hope to have a few more yarns to tell over the next few months and years," concluded Mr. Kilpatrick.


* Two senior Alliance Textiles manager with thebacking of private investors have purchased Swanndri and Royal Woolsbrands from Alliance Textiles.
* It is a multi-million dollar acquisition deal. The exact amount is confidential and commercially sensitive.
* Two current Alliance Textiles employees, JulianBowden and Gerard Kilpatrick will be the senior managers of the newcompany. Mr. George Cowper will chair the Board of Directors.
* The shareholders of the new company, SwanndriNew Zealand Limited, have more than acentury of experience between them.
* The new company expects to employ between 35 and 40employees.
* Swanndri is believed to be the oldest apparel brandin New Zealand.
* The new company is expected to have an annualturnover approaching $10 million.
* Manufacturing will continue at the Timaru plant.
* Swanndri New Zealand will cement the brandsposition in the New Zealand market and identify and grow selectedinternational opportunities.


Julian is the Chief Executive of Swanndri New Zealand Limited. He is also a director of the company.

Julian is currently the Marketing Manager ­ Apparel Products of Alliance Textiles having joined the company more than two years ago. He has been one of the drivers behind the development of the Swanndri and Royal Wools brands.

Prior to joining Alliance Textiles, Julian spent 10 years with Canterbury International Limited in a number of senior management positions including Sales and Marketing Manager - New Zealand, Marketing and Sponsorship Director and Product Marketing Director.

Julian has a Bachelor of Commerce and Management degree from Lincoln University.


Gerard is the Marketing Director of Swanndri New Zealand Limited. He is also a director of the company.

Gerard is currently the Marketing Manager ­ Technical Products for Alliance Textiles and has been with the company for nearly three years.

Gerard had five years sales and marketing experience in the pharmaceutical industry in New Zealand prior to spending two years working in London for a French owned manufacturing company. He returned to New Zealand in 2001.

Gerard has degrees in physical education and history from the University of Otago and Canterbury respectively.


George Cowper will be the Chairman of the Board. He will also be involved at an operational level during the company's establishment period.

George has extensive experience in the apparel industry, particularly in the operational area.

After completing his commerce degree at the University of Canterbury, George joined Lane Walker Rudkin Industries (LWR), where he held various senior accounting positions, including Head Office Accountant and Corporate Development Manager.

In 1983 George was appointed Operations Manager of LWR Hosiery Limited. George was appointed Managing Director of LWR Hosiery in 1985 and Chief Executive of LWR Hosiery and Underwear Group in 1986. The Group turnover was in excess of $50million, with a staff of 643 and total assets of $22 million.

In 1998, George took up the position of Chief Executive of Canterbury Cotton Oxford Europe. The position was based in Manchester in the United Kingdom and involved relocating and merging the newly acquired Cotton Oxford.

George has extensive commercial experience, and is currently the joint owner and managing director of Hummingbird Coffee Limited ­ a retail/wholesale coffee business.


Bryan Pearson is a significant shareholder in the company and will be a Director on the Board. He will also have an operational involvement with the company, in the areas of marketing strategy and brand development.

Bryan is currently a shareholder and strategy and marketing consultant to Beachculture International Limited, a 30-store surf/beach lifestyle retail business based n Sydney, Australia.

Until June 2003, Bryan was the Chief Executive Officer of the Berlei group (a subsidiary of Pacific Brands). The Berlei group was involved in the intimate apparel business, with a turnover of around $140 million.

Bryan has held previous roles as General Manager of Pacific Brands New Zealand, General Manager of Lane Walker Rudkin Hosiery and Underwear, and Sales Director of Sara Lee Hosiery (Australia and New Zealand). Bryan commenced his career with Lane Walker Rudkin as a production cadet in the early 1980s.

Bryan and his family have now returned from Australia and live in Christchurch.


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