Lempriere makes WA mark

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Bob GarnantThe West Australian

Lempriere, one of the world's biggest wool merchants and processors, has taken a new position in WA's wool market.

Previously employing agents to secure its wool volumes from the Western Wool Centre, larger purchases have given way for more direct participation at the weekly Bibra Lake (Fremantle) sale using the company's own staff.

Lempriere trading division manager Evan Croake, who bought 498 bales last week, or 7 per cent of the Western Wool Market total, has relocated from Melbourne to ensure a strong company presence.

While ChinaTex Australia continued to dominate top position with a purchase of 1615 bales, or 23 per cent of the WWM total, Lempriere held a respectable fifth spot.

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"Competition was very strong, particularly from the Chinese operators," Mr Croake said.

"We were surprised today, expecting a strong market, maybe as much as 30c/kg higher, but some lots were up by 50c.

"The decision to base a full-time Lempriere buyer in WA is a real opportunity and came about because we are at a stage of securing enough wool to support the move."

Mr Croake was based at Lempriere's Melbourne headquarters and will now be attending weekly wool sales at Bibra Lake.

The sixth-generation woolgrower was raised on his family's Oak Hills superfine stud at Pyramul, NSW and gained his wool classing certificate before becoming a wool buyer. .

"I do have an initial challenge to learn the different types of WA wool," he said.

Mr Croake bought a variety of wool types last week.

"Lempriere trades in a broad range of micron types," he said.

He bought across the WA 6998 bale offering, securing a share of each of the seven agents' catalogue offerings, paying a top-price of 990c/kg greasy for a consignment of Myall/Darkan wool offered by Landmark. "This wool has plenty of style and breeding, and will go towards a superfine order most likely for suiting," Mr Croake said.

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