Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
· DIRA Milk Price and Advance Rate based on $6.45 per kgMS
· FY19 forecast earnings per share revised to 15-25 cents per share
· No interim dividend
· Full strategic review underway – including the dividend policy
· Forecast milk collections revised to 1,530 million kgMS
Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has increased its 2018/19 forecast Farmgate Milk Price range to $6.30-$6.60 per kgMS, up from $6.00-$6.30, and revised its forecast earnings down to 15-25 cents per share.
Chairman John Monaghan says the improved milk price forecast reflects the increases in global milk prices over the last quarter.
“Since our last milk price update in December, global demand has strengthened. This is driven predominantly by stronger demand from Asia, including Greater China. The European Union’s (EU) intervention stocks of Skim Milk Powder (SMP) have also now cleared for the season and, as a result, we expect demand for SMP to be strong.
“Global supply remains above last season’s levels, but growth has slowed due to challenging weather conditions in some of the world’s largest milk producing regions – in particular, Australia’s milk production is forecast to be down 5-7% on last season and the EU’s growth has slowed and is now forecast to be less than 1% up on last year.
“Here in New Zealand, due to hot, dry weather since the start of the year, we’ve revised our Co-op’s forecast milk collections down from 1,550 million kgMS to 1,530 million kgMS. This is up 2% on last year.
“We expect demand to remain stronger relative to supply for the rest of the season.”
The DIRA milk price and the advance rate paid to farmers have been set off a milk price of $6.45 per kgMS.
Fonterra is also advising its farmers and unit holders that its forecast earnings range has been reduced to 15-25 cents per share and that it will not be paying an interim dividend. A decision on any full year dividend can only be made at the end of the financial year, and will depend on the Co-op’s full year earnings and balance sheet position.
“We are taking a close look at our business with our portfolio review, where we can win in the world, and the products and markets where we have a real competitive advantage. We need a fundamental change in direction if we are to deliver on our full potential. We will provide an update on the strategy and the progress that has been made on the portfolio review at our interim results on March 20.”
CEO Miles Hurrell says the underlying performance of the business is not where it needs to be.
“The main pressure points on our earnings are the three we highlighted in our Q1 business update – that’s challenges in our Australian Ingredients and our Foodservice businesses in wider Asia. We are making inroads in addressing them but they will not be solved overnight.
“Since our Q1 business update, we have also felt the impact of difficult trading conditions in Latin America, mainly due to geopolitical situations in some countries. In addition, the increase in milk price, which is the primary cost input into our non-milk price products, has put pressure on the margins for those products, and they significantly contribute to our earnings.
“We remain committed to financial discipline. We are making good progress on our portfolio review and asset divestments in order to reduce our debt by $800 million this financial year. We are also on track to meet our targets for capital expenditure and operating expenses,” says Mr Hurrell.
We’re a global dairy nutrition company owned by 10,000 farmers and their families. We’ve built our expertise on the legacy of the thousands of farmers who’ve made New Zealand a world leader in dairy. With a can-do attitude and a collaborative spirit, we’re a world leading dairy exporter. Our 22,000 people share the goodness of dairy nutrition with the world through our innovative consumer, foodservice and ingredient solutions brands, and our farming and processing operations across four continents.