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Fonterra Hikes 2024 Earnings, Milk Price Outlook On Strong Demand

By Reuters
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Fonterra Hikes 2024 Earnings, Milk Price Outlook On Strong Demand

New Zealand's Fonterra Co-operative has increased its fiscal 2024 earnings and farmgate milk price forecasts, citing strengthening demand for reference commodity products from key importing regions.

The company hiked the forecast range for its farmgate milk price – the price it pays to farmers – to between NZ$7.00 (€15.38) and NZ$8.00 (€15.95) per kilogram of milk solids (kgMS) from its prior range of between NZ$6.50 (€3.70) and NZ$8.00 (€4.56) per kgMS.

According to December's first GDT auction, Global Dairy Trade (GDT) prices rose, while volumes dropped.

The company has seen a rise in demand from countries including China during the first quarter after a recent gain in GDT prices.

'Strong' Interim Dividend

The dairy giant also increased its fiscal 2024 earnings per share outlook to between 50 NZ cents and 65 NZ cents per share from prior expectation of between 45 NZ cents and 60 NZ cents and said it is on track for a "strong" interim dividend.

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In the first quarter, Fonterra's profit after tax jumped 61.7% to NZ$346 million ($212.55 million) on the back of strong margins across operations.

The dairy firm attributed the lift in quarterly earnings to higher margins across the company’s three main sales channels - ingredients, food service, and consumer.

Higher Margins

"Looking ahead, we expect these higher margins to continue throughout the first half of the year, before tightening across all three sales channels in the second half of the year," chief executive Miles Hurrell said.

“Our in-market teams are continuously working on new ways to commercialise our innovation expertise."

The company reported first-quarter gross margin of 21.4%, up from 15.5%.

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