Established in 2005, ProClass was set up in response to cotton growers and merchants wanting a truly independent classing service. Goondiwindi was chosen as the site for operations as it is a major regional centre which is located at the junction of several major highways servicing the Australian cotton belt, and within a 250 km radius to the bulk of the industry's ginning capacity. Due to the emergence of a new major cotton growing and ginning region in southern NSW, a second facility facility was established in Griffith, NSW in 2016.
The establishment of ProClass has resulted in a rationalisation of classing services in Australia, meaning we have seen a move away from the many merchant owned facility towards there now being only five classing facilities nationwide. ProClass operated two of these facilities and is the dominant entity, with a national market share of approximately 65%.
The shareholding of our business is drawn from several cotton industry sectors:
- 40% Cotton growers - who are represented by a group of six growers from six cotton regions from Central Queensland to the Macquarie Valley encompassing:
- Charlie & Kaye Wilson (Central Qld)
- Geoff & Toni Hewitt (Darling Downs)
- The Corish Family (MacIntyre Valley)
- The Cush Family (Gwydir, Namoi, MacIntyre Valleys and South West Qld)
- Jono & David Phelps (Namoi Valley)
- The McAlary Family (Macquarie Valley)
- 40% Cotton merchants - represented by Louis Dreyfus Cotton Commodities and Queensland Cotton;
- 20% Cotton classers - represented by an independent international cotton controller and classing firm - Wakefield Inspection Services - which has existing interests in cotton classing and controlling all around the world; and ProClass management.
The structure of our company is specifically designed so that no one shareholder or shareholder group has a controlling stake in the business. This means that all classing decisions are made unencumbered by bias or coercion.