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Record Year For West Coast Dairy Company

It has been a record year for Westland Co-operative Dairy Company but not just in terms of returns: this year shareholders also voted to remain independent.

The company¹s 2001 Annual Report has been released this week with the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ian Robb, describing the past season as a momentous twelve months.

Mr Robb states in the Annual Report that the 2000/2001 season has seen a record production of the highest quality product and turnover of more than $200 million. The combination of the increased production, quality products, efficient manufacturing, high international prices and a favourable exchange rate resulted in the Company making a record payout to supplying shareholders. The payout to suppliers averaged $5.20kg milk solids and the Company¹s equity has been increased by $8.85 million, thus protecting the balance sheet for future events.

There is little doubt that the most significant event for the Company was the vote by 95.4% of shareholders to remain independent of the proposed merger of Kiwi Dairy Company and the New Zealand Dairy Co-operative.

"The Board of Directors and senior management have developed a stand-alone plan and are confident that Westland Dairy has a sound future as an independent company," states Mr Robb.

"The path from here is to establish the brand Westland Milk Products in the marketplace and to work closely with our customers to develop long-term relationships that will be beneficial to all parties."

There are similar views on the year from Chief Executive Officer Terry Norwood, who described 2000/2001 as a watershed year for the Company.

"While the Board was examining the options for independence, the operations of the Company continued. A favourable spring resulted in peak milk intake almost reaching 1.8 million litres per day, an increase of 5.8% over the last season. This was a 15% increase in total milk received in the spring."

"The past year was one of accomplishment where we achieved the very best performance of any New Zealand manufacturing company supplying the New Zealand Dairy Board. The future is about reaching the same level of accomplishment in supplying products and services to our customers around the world," concludes Mr Norwood.

Ends


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