31 Mar 2014

Farmer payout 'reasonably safe' - Synlait

10:02 am on 31 March 2014

Synlait Milk is keeping a close eye on dairy commodity prices and the exchange rate and says significant movements in either could affect its payout this season to farmers.

The dairy company announced a $12 million net profit for the six months ending 31 January this week.

But it lowered its forecast full-year profit to between $25 million and $30 million, saying it's not selling as much infant formula in China as it had expected to, due to regulatory changes there.

It also said the high kiwi dollar wasn't helping.

In January the company lifted its forecast farmgate milk price from $8 a kilo of milk solids to between $8.30 and $8.40. Managing director John Penno says that is still looking reasonably safe.

"It absolutely depends on where commodity markets and exchange rates go but if commodity prices fall suddenly at the end of the year or the exchange rate goes up a lot at the end of the year, it's not unusual for payouts to move."

Synlait will release its next payout forecast for the season in May.

This week Fonterra said its record cash payout to farmers of $8.75 a kilo is still on track.