Thursday, July 7, 2022

Changing of the guard

Fonterra’s nationwide Milk For Schools programme will cost between $10 million and $20m a year, Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says.

It will not be as much as $50m, he told the annual meeting in Hamilton today.

The New Zealand Farmers Weekly estimated that $1 per 180ml UHT pack would cost Fonterra $50m a year to provide daily milk to 350,000 primary school children throughout New Zealand.

It seemed the cost per pack would be lower than that.

Sir Henry van der Heyden handed over a totara batten to new chairman John Wilson, with a joke that Wilson should not use the batten on anyone.

Van der Heyden said he was leaving the chairmanship with the co-operative in far better shape than when he started 10 years ago. He cited asset valuation up 28% to $15 billion, milk production up 4 billion litres of milk to 15b litres annually, and average farm values up from $1 million to $4.5m as measurements of his tenure.

He said his tenure as chairman had been one hard year after another.

“We have achieved what we set out to do, which is to grow farmers’ wealth, measured by the value of your land, the value of your shares and your milk earnings.”

Shareholders at the meeting voted overwhelming in favour of a resolution to lock in protections around the size of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund and the integrity of the Farmgate Milk Price.

Resolution 8 was passed with 89.51% support.

The shareholder remit from Lachlan McKenzie and Ann Jones received 36.56% support.

The remit sought to change the wording of clause 12.2 to “a minimum of” nine farmer directors on the board, not maximum as present.

The remit needed 75% approval to achieve a constitutional change.

Results of the directors’ election were announced earlier today. Incumbent directors John Wilson and Nicola Shadbolt were re-elected and Blue Read joined them as a new director.

MORE: Sir Henry van der Heyden’s speech

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