Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Chairman urges new PM to continue push for trade deals

Monday 12 December 2016 04:46 PM

Fonterra chairman urges new PM to continue push for trade deals

By Fiona Rotherham

Dec. 12 (BusinessDesk) - Fonterra chairman John Wilson has told investors in the cooperative’s unit fund that it’s critical the government continues driving regional and multi-lateral trade agreements.

At the annual meeting of the Fonterra Shareholders Fund, Wilson said he had gone on a number of trade missions with former Prime Minister John Key, who he said was a strong supporter and advocate of the New Zealand dairy industry.

“With his departure, it is critical that we continue to work closely with government to ensure trade strategy adapts to the changing global environment that has certainly seen significant political change during 2016,” he said.

While the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has stalled with Donald Trump's election in the US, Wilson is hopeful it can be rejuvenated in some form next year given the fundamentals that drove it haven’t changed.

“Clearly right now it’s not going anywhere but it will be very interesting to see how the countries involved in TPP and other countries in the region look to come together, I believe over the next 12 months.”

He’s confident the new prime minister and key ministers will pick up Key’s trade mantle, with particular focus on the World Trade Organisation and a new free trade agreement with Europe given Britain's vote to leave the EU.

Fonterra confirmed its farmgate milk price forecast of $6 per kilogram of milksolids today and Wilson said it was still confident of delivering on the forecast 50 to 60 cents earnings per share which would deliver a final total payout of $6.40/kgMS, despite rising milk prices compressing the cooperative’s margins.

The rebalancing of supply which has seen Australian and European farmers cut back their growth rates is expected to continue over the next 12 months, he said.

“We’re 95 percent exporters, the US is 15 percent, and Europe, depending on the year, is around 5 percent so what you find is there is a significant lead in lag period and you’ve seen the same pain our farmers have gone through over the last two years now being experienced by many other farmers globally and we have seen a reduction in supply and the market come back in balance.”

Wilson predicts it will take two years for kiwi farmers to recover from the last two difficult seasons, given incomes will be affected by the 5.6 percent drop in milk production locally in the year to date.

Repaying working capital borrowed from the banks and spending on delayed repairs, maintenance and fertiliser are likely to be priorities as incomes increase again this season, he said.

Poor weather, particularly in the North Island, lower stocking rates, and farmers limiting the use of feeding supplements have all had an impact on production and Wilson said he expects it will also take two years for New Zealand production to return to previous levels. He added farmers were being “very careful” because of the price volatility over the past five years that has impacted returns.

Fund chairman John Shewan said last year’s dividend of 40 cents per unit represented a 7.3 percent yield to investors, well up on the previous year, while the size of the fund has increased 20 percent in the past year to 121 million units with a total market capitalisation of $719 million.

The fund now represents 7.6 percent of total Fonterra shares on issue compared to 6.2 percent last year. In terms of geographical spread, 67 percent of unitholders are from New Zealand, 21 percent from Australia, and the rest are from the US, UK and Hong Kong.

The number of retail shareholders rose four percent to 59 percent during the year and the stock’s liquidity level has been the highest this year since the fund’s launch in 2012 with an average 420,000 units traded per day.

The share price is currently trading at $5.93 with the basic unit price up 7 percent in the past year, relative to 12 percent for the NZX50.

Scott St John has been appointed to the board of the Fonterra Shareholders Fund Management company, after being elected to the Fonterra board. He’s replacing Ian Farrelly on both boards who has retired.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Energy Resources Aotearoa: Doubling Of Coal Use Shows Need For Local Natural Gas

New figures showing a near doubling of coal-fired electricity generation highlight New Zealand’s energy shortage and the need for natural gas as a lower carbon alternative, according to Energy Resources Aotearoa... More>>

E Tu: ‘Sense Of Mourning’ As Norske Skog Mill Set To Close

Workers at Norske Skog’s Tasman Mill now know they’ll be losing their jobs in little over a month’s time.
On Wednesday afternoon, workers were told the mill will be stopping production from the end of June... More>>

Stats NZ: Card Spending Sees Strong Growth In May

Seasonally adjusted card spending rose by $189 million (2.3 percent) between April 2021 and May 2021, Stats NZ said today.
Spending rose across all industries for the first time since New Zealand moved to level 1 in June 2020... More>>

Auction: 1.4 Million In Rare Vintage Watches, Gems, Jewels & Diamonds Go Under The Hammer At Webb’s

An auction event showcasing over 1.4 Million dollars in rare jewels, gems, diamonds and vintage watches is due to take place this Sunday by Auckland based auction house Webb’s... More>>

Catalist: NZ’s New SME Stock Exchange, Gets Licence To Go Public

New Zealand has a new stock exchange – designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to raise up to $20 million a year from the public.
Called Catalist, the exchange has already been successfully working the private investment sector.... More>>

E-Commerce: Over 40% Of Those Engaged In The Bitcoin Community Are Millennials

Bitcoin has emerged to be a popular topic among millennials with digital currency increasingly being viewed as a potential source of creating wealth through investments. The interest in bitcoin by millennials signals the role this age group plays in the possible realization of the digital currency’s mass adoption... More>>