Company Background

Wigglesworth was established by Alfred Wigglesworth in London in 1895 with the early trading being mostly in European hemps for cordage purposes. From there trading moved on to New Zealand hemp (phormium tenax), manila hemp from the Philippines and eventually to sisal from Tanzania and Kenya. Along the way trading also commenced in flax and jute.

Alfred Wigglesworth had made his first visit to East Africa in 1913 and his interest eventually led to the formation, in 1921, of the Amboni Sisal Estates - which have from that time until the present day been in the forefront of the industry. A spinning mill was established in Tanga, Tanzania in 1977 and this, together with certain Amboni sisal estates and two major Kenyan sisal estates, Vipingo and Dwa, comprise the principal assets of the Company's major supply source, REA VIPINGO PLANTATIONS LTD. ("RVP") which was incorporated in 1996 and is quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

Wigglesworth acts as the exclusive marketing distributor for this group as well as several other major East African producers. Wigglesworth also deals extensively in sisal and sisal products from other areas including Madagascar, Brazil and China.

It is estimated that Wigglesworth distributes approximately 50% of the total world market for sisal fibre exports, including some 70% of East African sisal fibre exports.

The Company has traded in Abaca fibre since the early 1900's and in Flax fibre since the 1920's. Both remain significant areas within the Company's annual turnover.

In 1989 Wigglesworth, which had hitherto been a private company, was acquired by REA Holdings plc, a London Stock Exchange quoted company with plantation and trading interests. On May 31st 2000, Wigglesworth once again returned to private ownership, although still closely allied to REA Holdings plc.

A detailed history is available upon request to the company.



REA Vipingo