Fonterra is poised to announce more details of its strategic review and may be planning to pull out of South America, sources say.

The dairy giant releases its half-year result tomorrow and is expected to update the market on an asset divestment programme designed to reduce debt by $800 million.

Fonterra has previously confirmed its ice cream business Tip Top is up for sale and bids for that business were due in last week.

It has also said its activities in China are under review including its shareholding in struggling Chinese infant formula company Beingmate, while its farming assets in China may also be considered for sale.


However both those investments are seen as difficult to exit and Fonterra maybe looking elsewhere for possible quick trade sales.

Sources say Fonterra's South American business is one that could be realised under the timeframe the co-operative is working toward (in December it said it needed to cut its debt by the end of July).

In South America, Fonterra has substantial assets in the form of its subsidiary Soprole in Chile, and an ingredients business called Prolesur in the south of the country. It is also a significant player in Brazil.

Soprole is Fonterra's oldest overseas investment and one of its most important, representing more than 25 years of Kiwi involvement in that part of the world.

While Fonterra has earned good profits out of South America the region may not be viewed as strategic as Asia is for the diary company.

Chief executive Miles Hurrell has previously said that Fonterra has been focused on fixing businesses that are not performing, such as Fonterra Brands in Oceania.

Meanwhile, former investment banker Scott St John quietly left the board of the dual-listed Fonterra Shareholders' Fund last month.

St John is a former director of broking house and investment firm FNZC, which happens to also be advising Fonterra on the Tip Top sale.


Fonterra's strategic review was announced at the same time it reported its historic first annual net loss of $196 million and debt of $6.2 billion.

The poor figures were affected by a legal settlement with Danone after a false botulism scare in 2013 and a $439 million writedown on Beingmate.