[9 November/NZ Herald]

Westland Milk Products has reported profit before tax of $3.25million for its recently completed financial year (last year the co-op reported a before-tax profit was $29,000). On releasing its annual report the West Coast co-op acknowledged it was still not industry competitive and lacked “financial flexibility” due to high debt levels and the need for more working capital. CFO, Dorian Devers, said that the company still had to improve its bottom line performance while chairman, Peter Morrison, added that the Board’s primary focus was to deliver a competitive payout next year and “get the basics right” to sustainably improve returns and value to shareholders. The West Coast co-operative is currently exploring options to bring new capital into the business, which could ultimately result in shareholders being asked to consider a sale of the business or accepting a mixed ownership model with a cornerstone investor being introduced. Shareholders will be updated on this process at the co-op’s AGM on 5 December.