Tuesday, 24 September 2019 10:55

Job losses and more asset sales?

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Fonterra will release its new strategy and 2018-19 financial results on Thursday. Fonterra will release its new strategy and 2018-19 financial results on Thursday.

Job losses could be announced by Fonterra this week, says investment advisor Jeremy Sullivan, of Hamilton Hindin Greene.

The co-op will release its new strategy and 2018-19 financial results on Thursday (Sept 26) after a two-week delay.

Sullivan expects a simplified strategy from Fonterra -- one of “back to basics”.

“There could be significant job losses and more rationalisation of assets to right size the business,” he told Rural News.

He says unit holders will be keen to see a signal of a return to dividends, otherwise there will be no point in them holding onto non-performing shares.

If Fonterra indicated a return to dividend soon, this would help the share price tick up. It is hovering around $3.20/share, down from $6.60/share 18 months ago.

Sullivan says farmer shareholders will also be hoping for the share price to rise as it would help improve their balance sheets.

Fonterra will also announce its final price for 2018-19.

Meanwhile last week’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) delivered good results for farmers. The headline price index rose 2%: the key export product, whole milk powder, was up 1.9%.

All major products recorded gains: skimmed milk powder up 3.4%, butter up 2.7% and anhydrous milk fats up 0.6%.

Westpac market strategist Imre Speizer says prices have been fairly stable since the decline in June.

Whole milk powder at US$3133 is close to the three-year average of US$3060. 

Westpac’s farmgate milk price forecast for 2019-20 remains at $6.50/kgMS, reduced a few weeks ago from $6.70.

Board elections

The first four candidates have been confirmed for Fonterra’s board elections.

Sitting directors Donna Smit and Andy Macfarlane, lawyer Cathy Quinn and farmer Philipp Haas have been recommended by the independent selection panel.

Under Fonterra’s election rules, farmer shareholders can also nominate candidates. 

The final list of candidates will be announced on September 30. Two board seats will be contested.

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