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Westland Dairy Shareholders Vote Independent

Media Release - Westland Dairy

Westland Dairy Shareholders Vote To Remain Independent

Shareholders of the Westland Co-operative Dairy Company have voted overwhelming to remain an independent company.

At a Special General Meeting today (Wednesday 27 June) 95.4% voted in favour of Westland Dairy remaining independent of the Global Dairy Company (GlobalCo) which has been formed with the merger of Kiwi Dairy Company and New Zealand Dairy Company.

"The vote to remain independent is a signal of the confidence of shareholders in the company and the future of the industry on the West Coast," says Board Chairman, Mr Ian Robb.

"The shareholders are confident of Westland Dairy¹s potential to grow within the deregulated environment. Westland Dairy will continue to make premium quality products, sell those products to customers who recognise and appreciate the quality, maintain a low cost operation and quickly develop and market new products."

"Westland Dairy is a true farmer owned co-operative. As an independent company, Westland Dairy and its shareholders will have control over the future of the industry on the West Coast. Independence also means the right to grow at the rate decided by West Coast dairy farmers."

Westland Dairy had been in negotiations for some time with GlobalCo representatives before recommending to its own shareholders that the company remain independent.

"Even though Westland Dairy is choosing to remain independent, the Board and shareholders support GlobalCo. Westland Dairy is looking forward to developing the future of the New Zealand dairy industry alongside the new GlobalCo," says Mr Robb.

The Future For Westland Dairy

There is confidence on the West Coast about the future of the dairy industry.

Westland Dairy has a history of success and the signs are clear that this trend will continue in the new deregulated environment.

Westland Dairy is applying for resource consent to build a new multi-million dollar powder plant at the Hokitika processing facility.

This is the result of a bumper season for Westland dairy farmers and the promise of future growth for the industry.

The new plant will have a capacity of 6.5 tonnes per hour, allowing Westland Dairy to manage an additional 1.5 million litres of milk per day.

The plant is estimated to cost between $50-60 million and will be in operation by 2002.

Growth in the region¹s milk supply has averaged more than 8% for the last 15 years as farm technology improves and more land is converted to dairying.

The company forecasts an end of season payout of $5/kg - an increase on last year¹s end season price of $3.77/kg.

Westland Dairy remains one of the largest employers on the West Coast and is a vital part of the prosperity of the local economy.

Background facts

… Established in 1937 after amalgamation of Kokatahi, Waitahi and part
the Arahura companies.
… Milk processing based at Hokitika
… 331 voting shareholders
… 366 suppliers from Franz Josef to Karamea
… Average herd size 230 cows
… 32,000 tonnes of milk powders and 20,000 tonnes of butter manufactured
… Annual turnover $190 million
… 2000 end of season payout for milk solids $3.77
… Forecast end of season price for 2001 is $5.00/kg milksolids
… Average milk growth 8.2% over the last 15 years


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