Woolstock ready for ASX debut

20 Dec, 2000 03:10 PM
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EQUITY holders in Woolstock Australia can now trade their Woolstock shares on the Australian Stock Exchange. The company will make its temporary public listing on the ASX under the code WSK from today. Woolstock Australia chairman Donald McGauchie said the listing would improve liquidity for Woolstock shareholders seeking to trade their shares and would allow new investors the chance to participate in the value resulting from the stockpile's sale. The 349 million stapled shares and units to be issued will be fully paid and will entitle shareholders to collect distributions made from the sale of stockpile wool and any future dividend paid by Woolstock. The listing means shareholders can now trade their shares or buy others through their stockbroker. However, existing shareholders will need to exchange their stapled securities for depositary interests before they can be sold on the ASX and are being urged to contact Computershare Clearing Pty Limited on 1300 652 348 for details. Despite the listing, Woolstock has announced it will wind up as a business as soon as the stockpile is sold. Once the stockpile is sold down within two years, net proceeds will be returned to shareholders. Surplus sale proceeds will be paid to Woolstock stapled security holders, primarily as distributions on Woolstock units. Woolstock distributed 20c/unit in September and expects to make a further, similar distribution during the first half of 2001. As of November 30, the stockpile stood at 573,416 bales, with a market value of approximately $415m, based on spot wool prices at that date. At November 30, Woolstock had borrowings of $132m and net assets of $371m, representing a net asset backing of $1.06 per stapled unit and share. Since its privatisation in July 1999, Woolstock has sold 482,000 bales and removed $86m from debt, $44m more than its scheduled debt repayment. With current market conditions for stockpile wool remaining strong, Mr McGauchie is confident Woolstock will complete the full disposal of the stockpile within two years. The stockpile is now smaller than the current stock of wool held by brokers in Australia.

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