Fonterra Profits Dropped by $60m

Dairy giant Fonterra said its net profit had dropped by $60m in the latest financial year due to high milk prices.

Fonterra's reported net profit came to $599m for the year, compared to $659m in 2020. Its normalised profit after tax came to $588m, up by $190m.

The co-op announced a dividend of 15 cents per share, taking the total to 20 cents, compared to last year's total of 5 cents.

On a normalised basis per share, Fonterra's earnings came to 34 cents.

The co-op settled on a $7.54 per kg of milk solids price for the season just gone, taking the total pay-out for 2020/21 to $7.74 per kg.

For the current season, Fonterra forecast $7.25 - $8.75 per kg of milk solids, with a midpoint of $8 per kg of milk solids.

Chief executive Miles Hurrell said the last three years was about resetting the business.

He said the company had adhered to its strategy of maximising the value of New Zealand milk, moved to a customer-led operating model and strengthened its balance sheet.

Fonterra also presented a revised capital structure proposal that it would discuss with farms before deciding whether to proceed to a shareholder vote.

The 'Flexible Shareholding' structure was a progression on the preferred option put forward at the start of the consultation process in May, but with key changes based on farmer feedback and further expert advice. The changes are: new minimum and maximum shareholding requirements, more types of farmers able to buy shares, exit provisions, the Fonterra Shareholders Fund, the Fonterra Shareholders' Market, and additional measures to support liquidity.

Fonterra chairman Peter McBride said changing the co-operative's capital structure was a critical decision and not something the Board or senior management were taking lightly.

The future success of Fonterra would rely on its ability to maintain a sustainable milk supply in an increasingly competitive environment, said McBride.

He expected the New Zealand milk supply as likely to decline and flat line at best. If Fonterra did nothing, it would see a 12-20 percent decline by 2030 based on its scenario modelling, McBride added.

The proposed changes would also protect against the uncertain and recurring risk of the co-operatives balance sheet.