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AWN increases wool pipeline

Australian Wool Network has acquired Victorian knitwear manufacturer Hysport to provide a channel for grower feedback from wool bale to retail.

The acquisition will allow AWN to move from brokerage services to vertically integrated wool marketing throughout the pipeline.

A third generation Victorian knitter and retailer, Hysport Pty Ltd manufactures garments made from pure wool and wool blends, which are marketed under the brands, Merinosnug and Emaroo.

Australian Wool Network managing director John Colley said the acquisition would change the face of wool marketing for the company.

Mr Colley said AWN had spent the past year investigating ways to add value to wool growing businesses and proactively drive demand for client’s wool.

“Hysport provides us with a reliable means to deliver a genuine connection throughout the wool processing pipeline from wool grower to consumer,’’ he said.

“One of the key attributes of Hysport, and a significant factor in our deliberations to secure the business, was the many exclusive and large contracts for certain product types in already established international markets.

“This is an exciting phase in AWN’s growth, as we take the opportunity to diversify our business and, at the same time, give our clients potentially different platforms to trade their wool.’’

Established in 1999, AWN now ranks as Australia’s third largest wool broker, marketing more than 235,000 bales of wool a year for over 5000 growers.

Based in Melbourne, Hysport manufactures up to 72 different garments, retails at over 230 outlets across Australia and uses Australian wool yarn processed through network partners in New Zealand and Italy.

Hysport chief executive officer Rod Murray said the factory ranked among the two largest knitwear manufacturers in Australia and used “whole garment’’ (seamless) technology.

Mr Murray said there had been no contact between woolgrowers and Hysport in the past, with wool sourced on micron specification only.

“We can now have more detail on the wool including fibre length and crimp – our products require a micron range of 17-24,’’ he said.

“The alliance with AWN has enabled me to attend my first wool auction and on-farm visits with wool growers are planned.’’

John Colley said the acquisition allowed AWN to be actively involved in creating consumer demand for wool, under a label carrying the “Australian Made’’ logo.

“MerinoSnug and Emaroo are marketed directly to overseas tourists through contracts with the world’s largest airport retailer,’’ he said.

“Purely Merino and Purely Australian are large customers of Hysport with enormous retail reach, and AWN will work closely with Purely Merino to increase demand and sales.’’

Mr Colley said certain types of wool could be made to specification for specialty products and programs.

“We can now offer an ever greater commitment to Australian grown, made and exported wool through business integration,’’ he said.

“This will help drive demand for our client’s wool by bringing wool growers, processors and consumers together.’’

For further information please contact John Colley on M 0417 732 601


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