pWoolstock chairman Don McGauchie (left) inspects the line-up of rams at the PIBA Katanning ram sale

30 Aug, 2000 03:03 PM
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Woolstock chief lashes AWG bid By GRAHAM GREENWOOD WOOLSTOCK chairman Don McGauchie has gone on the attack in the lead-up to the crucial stockpile vote on September 27. He has claimed the Australian Wool Group's (AWG) offer to buy the stockpile is a "raw deal and not a good one for woolgrowers or the wool industry". Mr McGauchie was speaking while visiting WA's PIBA Katanning show and ram sale last week. Mr McGauchie's comments follow the release last week of the long-awaited independent valuation by Ord Minnett of AWG's bid to buy the stockpile. "We support Ord Minnett's view that the stockpile offer is not in the best interest of Woolstock shareholders," Mr McGauchie said. He maintains the offer is flawed and questioned how AWG's projected processing profit margins appeared to be significantly higher than those achieved by other wool processors ‹ 12 times higher than the world's biggest processor, Chargeurs, according to Woolstock. "You would have to question those figures (AWG's), it is not a good deal," he said. Since taking over Woolstock, Mr McGauchie's main aim was to get the wool stockpile off the front pages of every rural weekly in Australia. And to Mr McGauchie's credit, he has done that. Quietly and efficiently, Woolstock has sold off the stockpile without seemingly having any serious impact on weekly sales of fresh wool, a point which caused much grief among woolgrowers in the past few years. But with the advent of the AWG offer, the stockpile is back in the news and Mr McGauchie plans to meet the challenge head-on, urging all Woolstock shareholders to vote on Wednesday, September 27. "What we don't want is a minority turnout. It is important that growers realise how crucial this vote is," Mr McGauchie said. He said a low voting turnout could mean AWG's stockpile offer could more easily gain a majority vote and would almost certainly result in the Woolstock board being replaced by AWG members. Woolgrowers would be worse off under the AWG proposal than under the current Woolstock business plan and woolgrowers had a strong stake as shareholders in the stockpile. Mr McGauchie said he would sign cheques to the value of $70 million in the next few weeks to go out to shareholders.

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