Demand sees Dawson return to Australia

WOOL trader H Dawson is reopening its offices in Australia, adding a key part to its international network.

Jo Dawson, CEO at H Dawson, Bradford

The family-owned Bradford business, which handles five per cent of the global wool trade, said the move is in direct response to growing international demand for Australia’s predominantly fine wool products.

“The opportunity in Australia is significant,” chief executive Jo Dawson told the Yorkshire Post.

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“We have had a very historical connection with Australia – the company was almost started there.”

His great-grandfather Harry Dawson founded the business in 1888 with Australian wool shipped back to England on clippers.

Mr Dawson said: “The market is changing over there. The players are changing. There are great opportunities for us.”

H Dawson closed its offices in Australia in 2007. It spotted the chance to reopen Down Under following mergers and acquisitions activity in the global commodities market.

Glencore, the trading giant, acquired the Canadian grain handling business Viterra in a $6bn deal at the start of the year.

Glencore then opted to sell wool and agriproducts businesses to the owner of an Australian group called Landmark.

Following a strategic review, Landmark decided to retain the broking functions but exit the export business.

Brett Woods, Stephen Hill and Alister Carr, formerly of Viterra Wool Exports, will form the leadership team of H Dawson Australia.

Mr Dawson described them as “one of the best teams in the world” and said the company is lucky to be working with them.

Tommy Warner, managing director of Landmark, said the company wished the former staff well and is pleased to see continued strong competition that would deliver value back to Australian wool growers.

Brett Woods, of H Dawson Australia, said: “The new team has a wealth of wool industry experience and we are delighted to be able to enhance our customer proposition, working as part of the H Dawson global network.

“We are looking forward to continuing to serve our existing customers as well as exploring new business avenues.

“When the opportunity arose to refresh the Australian part of H Dawson Wool, we recognised it as the chance to work with one of the global leaders in the wool world, a company renowned for its innovative approach and honest way of doing business.

“We look forward to working with wool growers here in Australia and with customers across the world, to find the best wool for their needs, and offer a service which is consistent and reliable.”

The head office and trading and logistics functions will be in Adelaide, while procurement operations will take place in Melbourne, Fremantle and Sydney.

Mr Dawson said the Australian operation will supply some of the world’s best wool to industries including clothing, interiors and carpets.

He added: “Australia has always been a major part of our business and we are delighted to be in a position to once again maintain a strong presence in the country.”

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The fabric of society

H Dawson, founded in 1888, sources wool from 35 countries and sells to customers in more than 75 countries.

The company trades £150m worth of wool a year from eight offices in the UK, Ireland, China, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and India

Jo Dawson, chief executive, said: “There is nobody who covers the breadth of wools that we are covering – from fine to coarsest.”

Products include noble fibres, greasy wool, scoured wool, wool tops and open tops. He is the fourth generation of the family to run the business.