WELLINGTON, May 23 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's largest company Fonterra gave an update Thursday on its strategy review and shared timeframes for turning around its performance, stressing that China remains a key market for the company.
"We are commencing a strategic review of our two wholly-owned farm-hubs in China," Fonterra Chief Executive Officer Miles Hurrell said in a statement. The company is responsible for approximately 30 percent of the world's dairy exports.
"We have contributed to China's dairy industry by developing high quality model farms and showing there is a valuable opportunity for fresh milk in China's consumer market, and this continues to be an attractive prospect," Hurrell said.
He said that good progress is being made on the strategy review and reiterated that the benefits from those changes will take time to flow through into Fonterra's financial performance.
Fonterra's revenue for the nine months to April 30 was 15 billion NZ dollars, up 1 percent on the same period last year, and sales volumes were 16.6 billion liquid milk equivalent (LME), up 4 percent. However, normalized Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) was down 9 percent to 522 million NZ dollars.
"Our China Foodservice recovered as demand for butter bounced back," Hurrell said, adding this helped pricing and in-market inventory return to more normal levels.
There was good demand for Anchor Food Professionals UHT (Ultra-high temperature instantaneous sterilization) culinary cream and the team at Fonterra's Waitoa UHT factory have been working hard to get shipments up to China foodservice customers, he added.
Fonterra is revising its earnings guidance range from 15-25 cents per share to 10-15 cents per share. (1 NZ dollar equals to 0.65 U.S. dollar)