7 Nov 2019

Fonterra not 'broken but needs to change' - chairperson

1:56 pm on 7 November 2019

Fonterra's board of directors have acknowledged to shareholders that it's been a tough year, but say they're confident the co-op's farming situation will improve.

Some of Fonterra's 10,000 shareholders are at its annual general meeting in Invercargill today.

The AGM comes hard on the heels of Fonterra posting a $605 million loss for the year - which triggered the announcement of a new strategy focused on adding value to local production.

A strong turnout was expected at the meeting, which will consider initiating an independent review of the shareholders' council.

Lumsden farmer Tony Paterson, who is asking for the review, said the current set-up isn't working for shareholders.

Chairperson John Monaghan told the meeting Fonterra is focusing on local milk production and only looking to international sources as a last resort.

"We have a $4 billion revenue business in China; we now account for 40 percent of dairy imports into mainland China.

"We've built a $2 billion food service business from pretty much scratch in less than five years. The co-op wasn't broken but it did need to change."

Mr Monaghan said the company needed to listen to its shareholders.

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