Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams is the Markets and Banking reporter for the New Zealand Herald

A2 gets ready to launch baby formula

Nathan said A2's timing of its infant formula launch in this country was "purely coincidental".
Nathan said A2's timing of its infant formula launch in this country was "purely coincidental".

The residual impact of Fonterra's botulism false alarm may prove beneficial for alternative milk firm A2 Corporation as the company launches its infant formula brand in the New Zealand market, says one of its top executives.

Peter Nathan, chief executive of A2 Dairy Products, says the company's Platinum baby milk, manufactured by Canterbury dairy processor Synlait, will hit New World and Pak'nSave stores this month.

If all went to plan the product would be in Countdown stores within the next six months.

The botulism debacle took a heavy toll on New Zealand's dominant infant formula brand, Karicare.

Its manufacturer, French-owned Nutricia, had to recall around 68,000 cans that had received some of the 38 tonnes of Fonterra whey protein wrongly suspected of being contaminated with clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that can cause botulism.

Nathan said A2's timing of its infant formula launch in this country was "purely coincidental".

It could, however, work in the NZX-listed firm's favour, he said.

A2 will also launch its baby milk brand in Australia this month.

Nathan said a television advertising campaign for Platinum was about to begin on both sides of the Tasman.

He said Platinum would be priced at the premium end of the market, with a retail price of $39.95 a can in New Zealand.

Karicare products ranged in price from $18.50 to $28.95 a can at New World's Queen St store yesterday.

Meanwhile, Nathan said he did not expect Fonterra's botulism debacle to have any impact on A2's infant formula launch in China, which will take place in October in cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing.

But he added: "Clearly it's not helpful for us."

The company, which reported a net profit of $4.1 million on revenue of $94.3 million for the 12 months to July 31, is anticipating annual sales of $60 million in China by 2016.

A2 sources its milk from cows that are selected to produce A2 beta-casein protein, which is claimed to provide health benefits over the more common A1 variety.

- NZ Herald

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