Fonterra posts huge profit after revamp

WELLINGTON (AFP) – New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra posted a bumper annual profit yesterday, putting the world’s largest dairy exporter back in the black after two years of heavy losses.

Fonterra announced a net profit of NZD659 million (USD445 million) for the 12 months to July 31, rebounding from a NZD605-million loss the previous year.

The turnaround comes after Fonterra restructured its operations to focus on core business after last year writing down more than NZD800 million in assets, including slashing the value of investments in China.

Fonterra said shareholders would receive a final dividend of five cents a share, ending a suspension on payouts that began in 2019.

“We increased our profit after tax by more than NZD1 billion, reduced our debt by more than NZD1 billion and this has put us in a position to start paying dividends again,” Chief Executive Miles Hurrell said.

He said Fonterra experienced a strong first half to the financial year but the COVID-19 pandemic affected the second half.