OPINION: Your old mate reckons Fonterra and its dairy farmer shareholders may well be all cock-a-hoop about the prospects of a near $8 payout this year and one north of $8 next year.
Coull noted the board's decision to pay out an interim dividend of 20 cents per share, and to accelerate the final dividend payments, would be very well-received by farmer shareholders and go some way to alleviating immediate on-farm cash-flow pressures.
"With the forecast milk price remaining at $3.90 per kg/MS, farmer shareholders' expectations are that the value-add side of their business will provide them the much talked about counter-cyclical benefits.
"The results in this regard are encouraging in that the business, on the back of weaker global demand, has moved volume into higher value which has contributed to the lift in interim profit.
"A clear focus on driving cash into the business is also evident in terms of free cash flow and a reduction in gearing ratio.
"It is important that the board continues to drive the business forward as the performance of some business units, such as Australia, Venezuela and China Farms are having a negative effect on the business.
"However, the council looks forward to the current positive momentum continuing and translating into more cash for our farmers."