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Beyond the Bale : December 2013
3 December 2013 BEYOND THE BALE UPFRONT AWI Annual General Meeting At its Annual General Meeting (AGM) last month, AWI reported on a year of healthy progress across marketing, research and development for the nation’s woolgrowers. AWI Chairman Wal Merriman reported to the AGM and via webcast how his Board continues to set the strategic direction of the company. “Despite significant global uncertainty over the past financial year, the wool price has remained relatively stable. We would always like to see a higher price, particularly for superfine wools, however we are very positive for the future,” he said. Marketing highlights for the 2012-13 year include the strong momentum behind the Campaign for Wool which has now attracted more than 445 retail partners across a dozen key markets. The International Woolmark Prize, the Merino. No Finer FeelingTM campaign and the Chinese- focussed Woolmark Gold program all work with designers, retailers and manufacturers to sell wool as an aspirational fibre. On-farm highlights include the training of over 2500 shearers and shedhands, the Lifetime Ewe Management program reaching over 15 per cent of the national flock, the formation of 24 new wild dog control groups and proof of concept for a liquid nitrogen treatment to prevent flystrike. AWI CEO Stuart McCullough outlined how the company was in a solid financial position. Operating expenditure across the company for 2012-13 was $28.12 million, a 42 per cent reduction from four years ago. Project costs were $47.07 million and expenditure ratios across marketing and R&D was well within stated parameters. “We are finding many new and emerging manufacturing and retail markets for wool. We are proud of the opportunity to work for Australian woolgrowers and very optimistic for the future,” Mr McCullough said. At the AGM and in accordance with the Corporations Act 2001, shareholders voted to limit the board to seven Directors. In the subsequent election of Directors, Meredith Sheil was re-elected and Paul Cocking and James Morgan were elected to the Board. The complete AWI Board is now comprised of these candidates along with Wal Merriman, Colette Garnsey, Brian van Rooyen and David Webster. The new Board met immediately following the AGM and re-elected Wal Merriman as Chairman. AWI shareholders that were unable to attend the AGM in person had the opportunity to view the AGM proceedings and ask questions via webcast. More information: The complete broadcast of proceedings (including the Chairman’s and CEO’s presentations and question time) is available to be viewed on demand (until November 2014) on the AWI website at www.wool.com/2013AGM FAST FACTS l AWI reported at its AGM on a year of healthy progress across wool research, development and marketing. l Paul Cocking, James Morgan and Meredith Sheil were elected to the Board of AWI. l A video and slides of the AGM proceedings can be viewed on the AWI website. NEWLY ELECTED DIRECTORS JAMES MORGAN I am very honoured to have been selected in the role as an AWI Director. I will do my utmost to contribute to the sound management of the funds that are placed in the hands of the Board to spend wisely. AWI is very diverse in its operations, with a Board that has a large range of skills. The stability of the industry is very important to growers, traders and manufacturers and the Board possesses a range of abilities to undertake its functions. I hope to bring a common-sense approach to decision making, and I place a very high priority on sound fiscal management and integrity. It will be a steep learning curve but a challenge I look forward to. PAUL COCKING It is an honour to be elected to the AWI Board and I thank the woolgrowers of Australia for their great support. I have a strong scientific and technological background, with commercial wool growing experience plus a high level of business acumen and Board experience. I believe I can add unique skills and a real balance to the Board on many key issues. Research and development programs must have a strong commercial focus that have outcomes to increase productivity and profitability of woolgrowers. I believe in a continued balanced approach to marketing and research and development. I am committed to ensuring that growers’ funds are effectively utilised. MEREDITH SHEIL I am very grateful to have been re-elected to the Board and send my heart felt thanks to woolgrowers. I am sad to farewell Roger Fletcher and George Falkiner, and would like to pay tribute to the enormous contribution they have made to the Board. It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work alongside them. I congratulate and welcome the new members of the Board and look forward to working together to deliver the best results that we can for woolgrowers.