Fonterra suspends Sri Lanka consumer operations after protests outside offices
Aug 23 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group says it has suspended its consumer operations in Sri Lanka, where sales of its products have been temporarily banned from sale, because of protests outside its local offices.
The company’s Sri Lanka business is currently prevented by a court order from selling, advertising or making public statement with customers or consumers, it said in a statement. The company has begun legal action to resolve the order. Its operations have been closed because of “the unstable situation at the moment.”
“The temporary suspension is the right thing to do,” chief executive Theo Spierings said in the statement. “It is a precautionary measure to ensure our 755 people working there are safe. We have closed our plants and office in Sri Lanka, and have asked our people to stay at home.”
Spierings said his company “must do all that we can to protect our farmer shareholders’ investment in Fonterra’s Sri Lanka manufacturing and commercial operations.”
Fonterra had “provided every possible assurance to the Sri Lankan authorities about the safety and quality of Fonterra’s products, and remains committed to the Sri Lankan people,” he said. “Recent events, however, have made it difficult to maintain day-to-day operations, and we need to get them resolved.”
A Sri Lankan court last week imposed a 14 day temporary ban on Fonterra selling products in that nation amid claims they contained traces of a nitrate inhibitor.
Three workers representing Sri Lanka’s National Health Services Union won a temporary injunction to stop the Auckland-based company from selling its products in Sri Lanka.