New Zealand eyes have been so focussed this week on an event 20,000kms distant that they might not have noticed here at home another extraordinary event, taking place on the NZX.
The market capitalisation of a company which listed as recently as 2012 on the local sharemarket soared past the $12bn mark and is hard on the heels of Meridian Energy, which has the highest valuation of NZ-based companies on the NZX at $12.3bn.
The challenger is a2 Milk, which sells a specialised type of milk with what it claims are health benefits.
A2 has had a chequered history but its market valuation keeps climbing, racing ahead of blue chips like Auckland International Airport and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and leaving in its dust some one-time market darlings like Fletcher Buildings (market cap $4.3bn) and Spark ($7.2bn). Continue reading “Forget about following the floundering fortunes of Fonterra – a2 Milk is the NZX’s fast-rising star”
Is Westland Milk one of NZ’s “key strategic assets”?
NZ First is adamant it is and believes the government should be a applying a “national interest test” to the proposed sale of the company to the Chinese dairy giant Yili.
Those who see heavily indebted companies like Westland Milk struggling to make a profit and not even matching Fonterra’s payout to its suppliers might take a cooler view to the proposed sale.
Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis said he had received “mixed” feedback from West Coast farmers on the deal, which will require 75% approval. Continue reading “NZ First is not alone in worrying at the implications of a Westland Milk sale to Yili”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor didn’t win too many new friends (and may have lost some) with his decision on the review of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act, the 2001 legislation which set up Fonterra supposedly to become a “ national champion”.
We all know how that has turned out.
So what were the reactions to O’Connor’s latest move to improve the legislation which initially had the objective of “promoting the efficiency of NZ dairy markets”?.
Fonterra chairman John Monaghan said the company was disappointed it still has to supply milk to large, export-focused businesses. Continue reading “Fonterra and farm leaders gripe at O’Connor’s DIRA decision – Greenpeace is even more grouchy”
NZ co-ops have been getting a bad media rap lately. Take Fonterra, for example. Andrea Fox, one of the country’s best-informed journalists specialising in agriculture issues, started a new series in the NZ Herald with the headline: “Fonterra: Disappointment and soured dairy dreams”.
Noting the dairy goliath had a silver-spoon birth nearly 18 years ago she wrote:
“Today the co-operative is looking a bit like the family’s overweight, lazy teenager hogging the remote on the biggest couch in the room And the credit card bills are coming in”.
After Fonterra posted a historic first net loss of $196m, Fox says calls are heating up for the company to be split up and a company, perhaps listed, spun off it, open to outside capital investment to chase high-value product markets. Continue reading “Fonterra could learn lessons in enterprise and growth from Australia’s Wesfarmers”
On the face of it, it’s a no-brainer. Weighed down with debt, Westland Milk, based in Hokitika is financially on its knees. Riding to its rescue, Chinese dairy giant Yili has come in with a $588m buyout deal which will yield $3.41 a share to the co-op’s farmer shareholders, and, as well, absorb Westland’s debt and liabilities.
According to Westland, the nominal value of its shares has ranged from 70c to $1.50 per share. For the average-sized Westland farm, the share offer translates to about half a million dollars cash.
The offer looks even more attractive since Westland had to cut its milk payout forecast, while other companies’ forecasts are rising. Westland, which has grown out of the West Coast’s 150-year dairy heritage, hasn’t paid a competitive milk price for several years.
The conditional deal comes with extra sweeteners. Yili has committed to collect all milk supply. It will also pay a competitive price of at least as much as the Fonterra farmgate milk price for 10 years.
But why would Yili go that distance? Continue reading “Yili bid for Westland Milk raises questions about dairy co-operatives – and Fonterra’s ownership”
Encouraging signs emerged this week that key elements in the structure of NZ’s largest export industry are whipping themselves back into the shape they should be.
The giant co-op Fonterra has gone back into the black with a net profit of $80 million in the first half, after previously recording a net loss of $186m.
Meanwhile Westland Milk Products, NZ’s second biggest dairy co-op, is in line to be sold to China’s biggest dairy company, Yili, in a $588m transaction that would inject nearly half a million dollars into the operations of each of its suppliers.
Alongside these co-ops, the Canterbury-based Synlait has underlined its strength in the industry with a solid result in its half-year after achieving higher sales volumes. It reported a half-year net profit of $37.3m, 9.6% lower than the $41.3m in the previous first half, but with the focus on investing for growth, with a second processing plant due to come on stream for the 2019-20 season. Continue reading “Comforting news for dairy farmers as companies report results and the world price rises again”
At last a ray of sunlight into the country’s cowsheds: giant dairy co-op Fonterra has lifted its forecast farmgate milk price to $6.30-$6.60kg/MS, up from $6-$6.30, on the back of strong global demand.
The good news extends to next season, with ANZ economists predicting – because dairy commodity prices are improving more quickly than expected – the forecast for 2019-20 could go as high as $7.30kg/MS.
And there is something else Fonterra suppliers might get a bit of a glow from: the recognition by Fonterra’s top brass that the co-op has not been performing anywhere near where it should be. They’ll be looking for a sharp improvement, even if the co-op has a long way to go to match the achievements of smaller outfits like A2 Milk and Synlait. Continue reading “Fonterra’s milk-price news is soured by chairman’s critique of the co-op’s earnings performance”