Global commodity prices behind drop in Westland Milk payout

Westland Milk has reduced its predicted payout due to global commodity prices, the impact of Cyclone Fehi, and a strike at the Port of Lyttelton. 

The cooperative has reported a final milk payout of $6.12 per kilo of milk solids (kgMS), less a five cent retention, delivering a net average result for shareholders of $6.07 per kgMS.

Chairman Pete Morrison said the company also didn't meet production and processing targets for the year.

"Top line sales were not as good as they could have been but we are seeing improvements with the new sales team in place and the benefit of improved processes," he said.

He said the cooperative was currently reviewing its capital structure to respond to high debt and limited financial flexibility issues. 

The cooperative is to update shareholders on the review at its annual general meeting in Hokitika on 5 December 2018.

"With the current international decrease in butter pricing the board has revised its predicted payout for 2018-19 to $6.50 to $6.90," said Mr Morrison 

"This is in line with other milk processors," he said.

He said the co-operative achieved $3.3 million profit before tax because of the decision to retain five cents.

Mr Morrison said the board acknowledged its milk payout wasn't competitive and was focused on achieving parity in future market place and return increased premiums.