WOOL broker Australian Wool Network has lost its Italian connections - or at least its Italian shareholders.
AWN managing director John Colley confirmed this week that his own company, Australian Pastoral Investments, had bought AWN's 55 per cent shareholding held by the consortium of nine Italian processors, manufacturers and retailers.
The consortium included Schneider, Ermenegildo Zegna, Loro Piana and Marzotto.
"There was a realisation that it was not their core business, plus these companies have been through some times in the last few years," Mr Colley said.
But despite their exit, Mr Colley said it was still business as usual for AWN and that it would still maintain it connections with the Italian industry.
"One of the benefits is the move will allow us greater opportunity in dealing with China," he said.
AWN, based in NSW, was established as a wool broker in 1999 as a partnership between processing and wool grower interests. It now operates in all states.
The grower stake was through the Network Investment Company whose directors and shareholders included several producers of superfine including former Australian Wool Services chairman Barry Walker and Australian Wool Innovation chairman Wal Merriman.
AWN has been very public in touting its connections to the Italian processors.
In 2008, AWN was nominated as a finalist in the NAB Agribusiness Leader of the Year.
At the time AWN had claimed that it was Australia's third-largest wool broker, maintaining a throughput in excess of 180,000 bales with an agency turnover of $190 million.
Part of the reason for this nomination was its link to processors and its ability to develop alternative marketing models.