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Current as of 24/10/16 05:59AM NZST
NZ Herald business editor at large

Strong result a sign of things to come for Fonterra - Spierings

• Fonterra's first half net profit increased by 123 per cent to $409 million.

• The company can double its interim dividend payout to 20 cents a share.

• The company's normalised earnings before interest and tax came to $665 million, up 77 per cent.

After reporting strong half-year results, Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings is addressing media gathered at the co-operative's headquarters in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour.

• Spierings said the long-term perspective for the co-operative is positive.

"Having said that in the short term, people are saying we're flooded with milk, yes on supply side there is more milk. The real impact is Russia and the embargo of Russia. This has increased European exports to Asia.

"We should not say China is under water, they still buy 814,000 metric tonnes, but we had to shift a lot of products to other markets."

• Question from media: Theo what do you say to critics who say you were to slow too move to higher value added strategy?

Spierings: "We have shifted at an enormous pace. We have shifted one billion litres of milk to value added.... by any standard that is very fast. You need strong brands, you need your asset base."

Fonterra chairman John Wilson also responded to the question.

"We've had extreme volatility... Since Theo came in we've had significant investment in foods business."

How come a strong result when farmers in such trouble?

Spierings: "There is a temporary imbalance. The long term is good, but there are things we can not control. Some things have not gone so well and we apologise for that."

Fran O'Sullivan: Fonterra makes the right call
Fonterra half-year profits soar 123pc to to $409 million
1080 threat struck Fonterra's 'heart'
Five key questions for Fonterra

Should milk remain the cornerstone of New Zealand economy?

Spierings: "Yes absolutely"

How is Beingmate going?

Spierings: "Infant nutrition has struggled because of parallel imports. China is unveiling policies to address that, the two child policy will help we expect growth in that market to return to 10 per cent. Beingmate is one of the established local players and the prospects are good."

How significant is price drop for dividend boost and strong performance?

Wilson: "It has an impact, but because of competition and domestic markets it is hard to put a number on it."

• Wilson was asked to comment on the sentence of eight and a half years in prison for blackmailer Jeremy Kerr, who threatened to contaminate infant formula with 1080 poison.

"That's first I've heard of the sentence this morning," Wilson said.

"The only comment I would make is that It was really deplorable, it put huge stress and strains on our business and all our stake holders and it is a distraction. It was terrible."

Read Fonterra's full presentation here:

- NZ Herald

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