NZ's Fonterra maintains milk price f'cast, cuts dividend estimate

WELLINGTON Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:53pm EST

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WELLINGTON Dec 11 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Fonterra maintained its forecast for the price of milk it will pay its farmer shareholders this year and cut its dividend estimate, as it struggles to keep up with growing demand for milk powder and has been unable to maximise the impact of high global dairy prices.

The dairy group said on Wednesday it would hold its farm gate milk price at a record high NZ$8.30 ($6.90) per kilogram of milk solids, surprising some analysts expecting a rise in forecast prices.

Fonterra lowered its estimate for its full-year dividend to 10 NZ cents per share from 32 NZ cents forecast in September.

It also forecast earnings before interest and tax for the year to July 2014 at between NZ$500 million and NZ$600 million.

The New Zealand milk co-operative, owned by about 10,500 farmers, controls nearly one-third of the world dairy trade and generates around 7 percent of the country's gross domestic product. ($1 = 1.2034 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by David Holmes)

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