Fonterra slips half-year loss and announces departure of CEO
- World’s biggest dairy exporter swings to loss
- Books NZ$405mln writedown on Beingmate stake
- Announces departure of CEO Spierings later this year
- Smaller rival Synlait posts record H1 result
New Zealand’s Fonterra , the world’s biggest dairy exporter, slipped to a half-year loss after booking a large writedown on its stake in Chinese infant formula producer Beingmate.
The company also announced that Chief Executive Theo Spierings will step down at an unspecified date later this year and the international search for his replacement has already begun.
Fonterra on Wednesday reported a net loss of NZ$348 million ($250 million) for the six months to Jan. 31, compared with a profit of NZ$418 million a year ago.
It took a NZ$405 million hit on Beingmate, which cut its full-year guidance in January, and a previously flagged NZ$170 million damages payment to French dairy giant Danone over a contamination scare in 2013.
Without those charges, Fonterra’s result was little changed and in line with analyst expectations, amid high inventory levels, low milk collections and higher milk prices.
Its shares were broadly unchanged at NZ$5.82 in early trade.
Chairman John Wilson said strong international demand was continuing to support global prices at current levels, but acknowledged the very dry weather impacting on New Zealand production.
“We will be watching for any impact on market sentiment as spring production volumes build in Europe,” Wilson said.