New Zealand family-run manufacturing business Autex Industries — a company that specialises in the design and manufacturing of polyester insulation and interior acoustic products — has announced it has taken sole ownership of the Vodafone Warriors, effective immediately.
Confirmed at the annual end-of-season Warriors Awards held at SkyCity, the move sees the family-owned business, which has been supporting New Zealand rugby league for more than 40 years, increase its existing 33% stake in the club following a deal with previous majority shareholders the Carlaw Heritage Trust.
Of the acquisition, Autex Industries chief executive Mark Robinson says owning a stake in the club last year was the opportunity of a lifetime.
“We’re a league family, and have stood alongside other Warriors fans in the rain, hail and sun to cheer on the boys for the past 25 years,” Mr Robinson says.
“Like any local league fan, we’re passionate about seeing the team succeed. We know the potential is there, so we’re stoked to be taking on full ownership and kicking off a new chapter for the club.”
The changing ownership structure sees Autex build on its involvement with the sport in New Zealand — a legacy which was started by Mark’s father and the founder of Autex Industries, David Robinson.
Under David’s leadership, Autex became the first New Zealand business to sponsor a national sports team when, in 1979, the company invested $100,000 in the Kiwis national rugby league team.
Autex Industries first became involved with the Vodafone Warriors in May last year when it was announced the business would invest in the club as part of a joint ownership structure.
Since then, Mark Robinson and Autex managing director (and Warriors chairman) Rob Croot have gone on to develop strong relationships with the Warriors team, coaching staff and senior leadership at the club.
“Over the past year, we’ve built a great bond with the players and the wider team. We’re there with them at every game, and stand by them through the good and not-so-good, home and away.
“It’s no secret this season has been tough on and off the field, but we’ve got their back and we’re proud to support them,” Mr Robinson says.
“We’re looking forward to helping the club reach its potential for the good of the game, the good of the players and for the good of our fans.
“There’s no doubt they’re the most loyal in the NRL, and they deserve to be rewarded for keeping the faith with some success on the ladder.”
Mr Robinson confirms that despite the change in ownership, there will be no immediate leadership changes at the club.
Mr Croot will remain in position as chair of the Warriors’ board, Cameron George will continue to lead the Club as chief executive, and Stephen Kearney will continue to coach the team.