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Fonterra forecasts up to $675 million loss for financial year

Dairy giant Fonterra is forecasting another big loss as it writes down the value of under-performing overseas assets.

The co-operative is forecasting a loss of between $590 million and $675 million for the current financial year.

Fonterra said it expected to write down the value of four significant overseas ventures in South America, China and Australia by more than $600 million.

The writedowns come as it reviews its business from top to bottom and looks to cut its debt by $800 million this year.

Fonterra has decided not to pay a dividend for the financial year based on the losses, in an effort to pay down more of the co-operative's debt.

In a statement, Fonterra Group chief executive Miles Hurrell said the company was leaving no stone unturned in re-evaluating all its investments, major assets and partnerships.

"We have taken a hard look at our end-to-end business, including selling and reviewing the future of a number of assets that are no longer core to our strategy. The review process has also identified a small number of assets that we believe are overvalued, based on the outlook for their expected future returns," he said.

The four overseas ventures it was writing down included DPA Brazil by about $200 million largely because of the Brazilian economy; Fonterra's Venezualan consumer and ingredients businesses by about $135 million due to economic and political instability; China Farms by about $200 million due to slower operating performance; and the Australian Ingredients Business by about $70 million due to "the new norm of increasing drought" and the closure of its Dennington factory.

Fonterra's New Zealand consumer business was also being written down by about $200 million following the sale of Tip Top and a slower than expected recovery in market share.

Mr Hurrell acknowledged farmers and unit holders would be frustrated by the writedowns.

"I want to reassure them that they do not, in any way, impact our ability to continue to operate. Our cashflow remains strong, our debt has reduced and the underlying performance of the business for FY19 is in line with our latest earnings guidance of 10-15 cents per share."

rnz.co.nz

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It’s blaming underperforming investments in South America, China and Australia. Source: 1 NEWS