[14 November/Rural News]

Fonterra farmers are closely following the co-op’s investment into Chinese food company Beingmate, which they see as shaky. Fonterra Shareholders Council Chairman Duncan Coull said that although the performance and return on the initial investment had been poor with stock market issues and regulatory reform, there was significant value yet to be realised in the Beingmate partnership. This value extends beyond the direct investment, sitting as part of a larger, profitable Greater China business. He noted that the numbers are looking forward, as evident through consumption trends, suggested a positive long-term outlook. Because of recent changes to government regulations, focussed on traceability for infant formula products, competitor companies were ridding themselves of stock that would become worthless. Beingmate sales were affected by this.