A SECOND company name on the table in front of one of the most prolific buyers at the Western Wool Centre (WWC) added to growing optimism last week the wool market's price dive is about to level out.
Alan Brown, who buys wool for Seatech Industrial Pty Ltd, a North Sydney-based private Australian company supplying Chinese woollen mills and who previously bought for the local Chinatex (Australia) Pty Ltd arm of a Chinese government-controlled corporation, had the extra name of Meliwa Pty Ltd in front of him.
A number of buyers at the WWC bid on behalf of several clients and Mr Brown joined them last week, buying lots for both Seatech and Meliwa, another North Sydney-based wool trader and exporter registered from August 2 as an Australian private company.
After the auctions Mr Brown confirmed Meliwa was a new customer buying wool at the WWC for the first time last week.
"I'm going to give it a go buying for two (clients) and see how I go," Mr Brown said.
Normally reticent about his clients and their wool orders, Mr Brown declined to reveal any details about Meliwa.
Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) records show Meliwa - designated as MEWS on the WWC electronic sales information board - bought its first bales of fleece wool at the week eight Sydney auction three weeks ago.
Last week it purchased its first wool lots at both the WWC and Melbourne selling centre, according to AWEX buyers lists.
It was ninth on the WWC daily buyers list of 18 companies buying wool on Wednesday last week, with its first WA purchases via Mr Brown of 15 lots comprising 127 bales of fleece wool, equivalent to 4.8pc of the wool sold at auction at the WWC on the day.
That was enough to rank Meliwa at 18th out of 20 buyers at the WWC so far this season, with its purchases amounting to 0.5pc of wool sold so far.
In Melbourne Meliwa purchased 227 bales of fleece wool, placing it at 28th position out of 33 buyers on the list and equivalent to 0.3pc of wool sold at auction at the Melbourne selling centre so far this year.
Meliwa also purchased a further 122 fleece bales in Sydney last week, taking its total there for the season to 224 bales or 0.4pc of wool sold.
On AWEX's national buyers list at the end of last week, Meliwa ranked 29th out of 40 buyers on the list - one above Scanlan Wools which has operated in WA for 33 years - with a total of 578 bales purchased or 0.3pc of the wool sold across the three live auction centres so far this season.
Seatech was 13th on the WWC buyers list last week, also via Mr Brown, with six lots comprising 41 fleece bales and equivalent to 1.5pc of wool sold.
After last week Seatech was 15th on the WWC buyers list so far this season with a total of 330 fleece bales purchased.
WA trader PJ Morris Wool was again the biggest buyer last week with 564 bales or 21.1pc of wool sold, followed by Victorian-based Techwool Trading with 419 bales or 15.7pc and Tianyu Wool Australia Pty Ltd with 404 bales and 15.1pc.
So far this season at the WWC, PJ Morris is top buyer with a total of 5191 bales or 20.7pc purchased across Merino and crossbred fleece, skirtings and oddments sectors.
Tianyu is second with 4593 bales or 18.3pc across all sectors and Techwool Trading is third with 3165 bales or 12.6pc across all sectors.
Last season Tianyu - a subsidiary of the China-based privately-owned Tianyu Wool Industries, the world's largest vertically-integrated wool top maker which also owns three prime sheep and wool properties in western Victoria - and Seatech frequently vied for top spot on the WWC buyers list, often taking almost half of the offering between them.
Prior to Seatech starting to buy wool at the WWC in late 2017, Chinatex (Australia) Pty Ltd, with Mr Brown as its buyer, topped the WWC buyers list most weeks for a number of years.
Chinatex (Australia) was a local wholly-owned agricultural commodities trading subsidiary of Chinatex Corporation, a part of the giant State-owned China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation.
In 2017 a beef export deal between Chinatex (Australia) and Bindaree Beef collapsed acrimoniously with a New South Wales Supreme Court judge directing Chinatex to pay $31.35 million compensation.
Coming on top of trading losses of $60m in 2015 and $57m in 2016, the court judgement and Bindaree's legal moves to seek payment saw Chinatex Corporation withdraw financial support for the local company which ceased trading at the end of 2017.
Administrators were appointed in March last year and a deed of company arrangement proposal, including a possible payout settlement from Chinatex Corporation for Bindaree, continues to be discussed with creditors, with the latest creditors meeting just last month.