Fox & Lillie is an Australian agribusiness, operating in the wool, aquaculture and seafood trading industries
The Fox & Lillie Group is a 100% Australian family-owned and operated agribusiness, with operations in wool, aquaculture and seafood trading.
History of Fox & Lillie
Established in 1948 by two experienced wool industry identities, Rhys Fox and Cyril Lillie, Fox & Lillie was primarily focused on the woollen supply industry, operating in buying and exporting of carding wool types.
The company’s focus on the woollen system supply proved very timely with the outbreak of the Korean war in 1950, which created huge demand for wool. It was during this prosperous time that Fox & Lillie quickly built foundation capital for the future.
After the Korean war, Fox & Lillie began to forge new relationships with wool consuming countries all around the globe. In 1980’s, wool boomed with prices reaching record levels due to strong demand from Europe, Russia, India, and a new country which would soon become the powerhouse for the Australian wool industry, China.
Fox & Lillie were amongst the first to trade with China and were pioneers in the development and sale of the early scouring types to China.
However, the 1980’s wool boom ended abruptly in 1990 following the collapse of communist Russia. With prices plummeting, the wool grower funded Australian Wool Corporation (AWC) quickly acquired almost five million bales under the reserve price scheme. It wasn’t long after the AWC ran out of funds and ceased to operate the reserve price scheme. The industry then went through many difficult years between 1990 and 2000 as it took more than a decade to gradually sell back the stockpiled wool to the industry.
The 90’s had its challenges, however Fox & Lillie’s wool business continued to expand and although new to Fox & Lillie, the company’s move into combing wools proved timely as many exporters lacked the capital required to finance the large volumes of combing wool required by the large Chinese, Indian and European processors.
Diversifying the business
At this critical time in the wool industry, Fox & Lillie looked to diversify their business and invested in the aquaculture industry. Fox & Lillie is now a major shareholder in Yumbah Aquaculture, the largest land based Abalone farming operation in the Southern Hemisphere.
Additionally, Fox & Lillie also invested in Matchless Seafoods, a wholesale business sourcing the finest seafood and mea, and Terra Mare Prime, an online retail business delivering food direct to consumers’ doors.
Fox & Lillie opens joint venture processing plant in China
In 2006, Fox & Lillie further diversified their wool operations and joined local investors to establish a specialised open tops processing factory in China, called OTCL. OTCL is now an industry leader in high quality open tops throughout the world, which is a tribute to the efforts of its owners and management.
OTCL is an important part of the Fox & Lillie story with virtually all their open tops wool produced at the plant.
Fox & Lillie today
Fox & Lillie, the company’s wool trading and export business is now one of the top three buyers and exporters of Australian wool, supplying all types of greasy wool and processed wool to countries throughout the world.
Fox & Lillie Rural, the company’s wool marketing services business, connects the company to a large cross-section of Australian woolgrowers with an extensive network of regional wool buying stores and representatives, committed to delivering our woolgrower clients with innovative wool-marketing products and services.
The successful integration of the company’s wool businesses is unique and provides important network benefits to the company’s woolgrower clients and export customers.
The collaboration between the businesses sets Fox & Lillie apart from all others and with an extensive range of domestic and international networks, the woolgrower and the end user are now closer together than ever before.
Since its formation, Fox & Lillie’s core business is wool, operating Fox & Lillie export and Fox & Lillie Rural and investments in wool processing. But having expanded into other agricultural industries, aquaculture and seafood trading, Fox & Lillie has not only become a benchmark in the Australian wool industry but has grown into a substantial and diversified Australian agribusiness.