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Jeff Grant Challenged To Front Up With The Float Facts

31 December 2010
Jeff Grant Challenged To Front Up With The Float Facts

The chairman of Wool Partners Co-operative Jeff Grant has been challenged to come clean and provide an accurate update of how many growers have signed up for the $65 million capital raising.

The announcement to extend the offer until February 16 because of “overwhelming support” did not make sense and had been strongly contradicted by independent research that showed 70.5 percent of woolgrowers had no intention of subscribing to the offer, the executive manager for the Wool Exporters Council, Mr Nick Nicholson said.

“If they had the overwhelming support as they claim they’d be across the line by now and the promoters would not be extending their offer for a third time. This is another example of the WPC chairman Jeff Grant fudging the facts at a time when he needs to be open and transparent.

“Continuing with the float when the support isn’t there is plain irresponsible and at the end of the day someone is going to have to pick up some very large costs,” Mr Nicholson said.

A HorizonPoll conducted between December 22 and December 30 indicated wool growers’ biggest worry was a $24 million bank loan debt that would be inherited from Bloch and Behrens by the new co-operative.

“They are asking why the co-operative had to take over the debt, when they could start from fresh without a $24 million bank loan hanging over the new entity,” Mr Nicholson said. “Growers told Horizon they wanted more information from the prospectus including a balance sheet, details of how the businesses being acquired have performed in recent times, and details of how the assets being acquired from Wool Partners International have been valued.”

Another area of concern from the qualitative part of the poll was the commonality of the management and directors between Wool Partners International and Wool Partners Co-operative.

The Wool Partners International directors are Theresa Gattung (chair), Keith Sutton, Craig Norgate and Mark Shadbolt. Former Meat & Wool NZ chair Mike Petersen resigned from WPI in July 2008 and John Perriam resigned from WPI in February 2010.

The Wool Partners Co-operative directors are Jeff Grant (chair, and a former chairman of Meat & Wool NZ before Mr Petersen), Theresa Gattung, Mark Shadbolt, Keith Sutton, John Perriam and Sir Brian Lochore.

Ends

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