Beingmate Baby & Child shares have tested new lows as Fonterra reviews its investment in the Chinese infant formula manufacturer.

Listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange, the shares last week dropped under 4 yuan for the first time since Fonterra bought an 18.8 per cent stake in 2014.

Fonterra paid 18 yuan per share for a total outlay of NZ$755 million as part of a joint venture partnership.

It has since written down the carrying value to $204m.


This week the shares recovered slightly, despite the general sharemarket ructions, and touched 4.50 yuan at one stage.

The uplift may have been driven by Beingmate's third quarter profit of 19.43m, and nine month profit of 27.96m, an increase of 107.3 per cent and signs of a turnaround following heavy losses over the past two years.

However, revenue for the three quarters was still down 98.8 per cent at 1.81 billion yuan and a sizeable portion of attributed net profit over the period was due to Government subsidies and asset sales.

Meanwhile, looking at Beingmate's top 10 shareholders, there's been some movement in recent months. Founder and president Xie Hong still controls 34.21 per cent through his Beingmate Group, Fonterra remains second with 18.8 per cent, followed by JVR International with 4.81 per cent.

Big changes occurred in the third quarter of 2017 with some institutional shareholders exiting top 10 positions, including China Everbright Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Kuwait Government Investment Authority.

Private investor Peng Shiyong exited altogether last month, having climbed to fourth position with 1.63 per cent. He first came on to the top 10 register in September 2017.

Another investor, Chen Shihui, came into the top 10 in June and recently moved to 1.83 per cent before trimming that holding to 1.66 per cent.

Fonterra holds its annual meeting in Lichfield, Waikato, next week and chairman John Monaghan may give shareholders and unit holders an update on the co-operative's future strategy, including its plans for the troubled Beingmate investment.


Key conference

The first China International Import Expo kicks off next week, supported by China President Xi Jinping, attracting 2800 companies from across the globe.

The event, from November 5-10, was announced last year by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who called it "an important policy statement and action demonstrating China's embrace of greater openness".

The expo will be of interest to Fonterra, Synlait and a2 Milk especially, following new laws covering trade into China.

The cross-border e-commerce (CBEC), and unofficial "daigou" trade channels are important platforms for a2's infant formula sales into China and the company has said it expects more guidance from the authorities.

China is well known for a frustratingly opague regulatory enforcement and industrial policy that often favours local companies and disadvantages foreign ones.

But the CIIE could be the platform for a fresh update with China's government agencies, state-owned enterprises, industry associations and manufacturers all sure to be in attendance.

Ebos firm favourite

Ebos is keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to speculation the high-flying pharmacy and healthcare supplier is lining up another acquisition.

Talk across the Tasman suggests Ebos is the frontrunner to buy Device Technologies, a medical supplies business up for sale in Australia, after Pacific Equity Partners dropped out of a bidding auction.

A spokesman for Ebos said the company doesn't discuss mergers and acquisitions and won't comment on rumour.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Ebos has sidled up to ANZ to bankroll its bid and hired Forsyth Barr for advice.

Ebos has been a star performer on the NZX in recent years, with its market cap recently passing $3b on the back of an acquisition spree.

The company last year bought pharmacy service provider HPS for A$154m ($167m) and has just announced a scheme to acquire the remaining shares in Terry White Group (TWG).

Ebos holds just over 50 per cent of TWG, originally acquired in October 2016 when that company merged with the Ebos-owned Chemmart business.

Going, going..gone

Amid all the doom and gloom about the lack of new listings on the stock exchange and companies being picked off by overseas bidders, there is one company some market participants will be happy to see go.

Pyne Gould Corporation signalled its intentions to delist from the NZX and move to the international Stock Exchange in Guernsey. It held a special meeting on Wednesday and shareholders voted in favour of the move.

PGC, which is majority owned by George Kerr, has treated its minority shareholders poorly for years, copping fines for late reporting and other listing rule breaches, while being embroiled in legal action involving its complex and controversial private equity operation Torchlight.

Kerr, with offsider Russell Naylor, came out on top of the legal action against several parties including government entities ACC and Crown Asset Management.

For the general market losing PGC could be seen as more of a blessing than a curse.