After a 16-year wait, roughly 36,000 Australian wool growers who have shares in Graziers’ Investment Company may receive their final payment from previous wool industry schemes within four months.
Graziers’ Investment Company (GIC) is the group responsible for winding up 36 legacy issues that stretch back more than 80 years through previous administrations of the Australian Wool Industry, including the failed reserved price scheme and resulting wool stock pile.
GIC Chairman Barry Walker said it had taken a long time to clean up a big bag of problems the company inherited.
He said one of the biggest issues was with the British super fund IWS.
“There was a $100 million debt around that super fund that took us probably the best part of 10 years to resolve,” Mr Walker said.
When the company was established under the name Australian Wool Services (AWS) in 2002, it had $57 million of capital from the former body Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation and about $53 million of liabilities from previous administrations.
Mr Walker said shareholder assets had not been eroded during the prolonged wind up process.
“Through the incremental process of solving the other problems we have built up a capital of $20 million.”
“It hasn’t been eroded. Quite the contrary, there is $20 million here for growers that they were not eligible for previously.”
On October 11 growers will vote on whether or not to wind up GIC.
If more than 75 per cent of the shareholders agree, the company will be placed with a liquidator and $20 million of funds distributed to the grower shareholders who paid wool tax in 2000 and 2001.
It will be the administrator’s job to track down shareholders including those who have passed away or left the industry, or lodge unclaimed money with the Federal Government’s consolidated revenue.
“We have written to the minister requesting that if there are funds that a home cannot be found for that the government look for what would be the best service to the industry to use up those available dollars,” Mr Walker said.
If shareholders vote to wind up the company growers can expect to receive $9.55 per share by around February next year.
Wool producers who would like to check their shareholder status should contact Graziers’ Investment Company.
By Lucinda Jose