[22 March/Otago Daily Times]

Fonterra has posted a $348 million after tax loss for its first half of trading, largely due to the $405 million write-down in the value of its stake in Chinese infant formula distributor, Beingmate. Fonterra Chairman, John Wilson, said shareholders would be rightfully disappointed with this outcome and that Beingmate’s continued under-performance was unacceptable. The result was also impacted by the costs associated with settling the dispute with Danone over the WPC80 recall issues.  It was also announced that Chief Executive Theo Spierings would be leaving Fonterra later in the year. Craigs Investment Partners broker, Peter McIntyre, said key issues included profits being down materially, largely due to Beingmate, and that the board needed to deal with the issue. He added that the next step would be to restore Beingmate’s performance which looked difficult. According to Forsyth Barr Broker, Damian Foster, the write-down was larger than he anticipated.