More information is expected to be made available to Fonterra farmers and shareholders on its capital structure review this year, the dairy co-operative has announced.
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Fonterra chief financial officer Marc Rivers says they are still consulting with farmers to get a sense of what their priorities are.

Within its Interim Report, the co-operative said it was assessing a range of alternative structures, as well as looking at options within its current structure.

Fonterra chief financial officer Marc Rivers says they are still consulting with farmers to get a sense of what their priorities are.

“We’ll take as long as we need to, to get it right. The first step was getting the strategy set, getting performance and now we’re getting into the discussion of what structure is best suited to deliver and execute on that strategy,” Rivers said.

The aim of the review is to build the strength and sustainability of our co-op by ensuring it has a capital structure that best supports our purpose and strategy into the future.

Recently, Fonterra conducted an online farmer survey of 1800 farmers to help progress this work.

The report said there was a strong appetite for change, with 62% of respondents saying they supported a change to Fonterra’s structure, while 19% are unsure.

The results also showed that the top priorities in any potential structure are, in order:

•Maintaining farmer ownership and control

•Making sure Fonterra has a strong balance sheet

•Getting a good return on investment

•Making it easy for new farmers to join Fonterra

•Giving existing farmers more flexibility with their capital.

“We intend to be in a position to consult with farmer owners and unitholders in the next couple of months, and if we decide to go ahead with a change, we would likely aim for a farmer vote around the time of the annual meeting in November,” the report said.

Victorian scientists in Australia will be working on methods to reduce the environmental footprint of the Australian dairy cow and to create a more profitable and sustainable dairy sector.

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