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Current as of 24/04/17 06:00AM NZST
Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Eight key things to look for in Fonterra's result

Fonterra will deliver its annual result. Photo / Bloomberg
Fonterra will deliver its annual result. Photo / Bloomberg

Fonterra will deliver its annual result on Thursday and it could be one of the dairy co-operative's strongest financial results ever.

The 2015/16 year delivered sharply lower input costs and big gains on the value-added side of its business.

These are eight key things to look for in the announcement.

A big lift in earnings, with low milk prices helping to drive margins higher.

Progress in what Fonterra calls turning the wheel - diverting more product away from its commodities and into its value-added businesses.

Fonterra's consumer and foodservice business had a stellar run in the first half of the financial year, with earnings rising by 108 per cent. Will the trend continue in the second?

Fonterra has spent up large in recent years building new plant and on buying a stake in China's Beingmate, which has seen its debt spike higher. Investors and the ratings agencies will expect to see Fonterra's debt fall to more conservative levels.

Fonterra's loss-making Australian operation has long been a problem for the co-op. The company has sold businesses and invested heavily in others. Milk prices there have also fallen - albeit belatedly - which should give Fonterra an extra boost. Will it be enough to put Fonterra Australia back in the black?

Beingmate, which is 18 per cent owned by Fonterra, has run into a rough patch due to more upheaval in the China's infant formula market. More broadly, the question is how is Fonterra faring in China now that economic growth there is coming off the boil?

The geopolitical scene plays a big part in Fonterra's wellbeing. Are low oil prices affecting Fonterra's markets in the Middle East. Will the Russian trade embargo lift? European dairy production - will the decline continue?

Earnings are up, and so are world dairy prices. Fonterra's costs have been cut dramatically. Is Fonterra on a path to increased earnings in the current year and beyond?

- NZ Herald

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