Fonterra's share price is sinking like a stone.
It's now 30 per cent lower than this time last year but reaction to the slump is as soft as the stock itself.
On Thursday alone the price of Fonterra shares and units in those shares on the NZX fell by 26c or 6.9 per cent to $3.49 in light trading. The fall took its market capitalisation to $5.6 billion, compared to $6.4 billion just one month ago on June 4.
Units in Fonterra shares listed in 2012 at $5.50, quickly jumping to $6.67. In May 2013 they hit $8. In the past month the price has fallen by more than 35c.
Chairman John Monaghan has been approached for comment. He is overseas.
Market analysts say the steady journey south is unsurprising given the embattled dairy company's forecast earnings downgrade in May and lack of progress announcements since it started a major restructure and strategy review under new leadership late last year.
And while Fonterra's farmer-owners are far from happy, they say the share price is not a measure of the company's value, which is in its assets.
Cambridge farmer-shareholder Garry Reymer said a bigger issue is falling land prices and low farmer confidence, despite firm primary produce prices.
"We are in a holding pattern and that is frustrating while we wait to see what they come up with. I'm not worried about the share price but I do want to know what they plan about strategy and capital structure. The two go together."
Harbour Asset Management senior research analyst Oyvinn Rimer said the share price was mapping earnings "quite well".
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Two years ago analysts were expecting Fonterra to deliver 60c earnings per share, he said. Now earnings looked likely to be more like 14c per share, following revised forecast earnings per share of 10-15c from 15-25c in May.
"So there's been this enormous reduction in earnings expectations and that is the fundamental reason why the share price has drifted lower.
"People have had a really bad experience being in the shareholders' fund (FSF). There's never really been a great shareholder experience. Over time that has gotten worse and patience among remaining unit holders has worn out."
Rimer doubts there are any institutional investors still in the FSF.
Craigs Investment Partners head of wealth research Mark Lister said there is simply no catalyst for Fonterra shares to rise.
The price fall was the result of a combination of factors including a weaker full year earnings outlook and "all the issues" with Fonterra, he said.
"Too much debt, the cost structure is too high and there are still question marks over its cooperative structure and whether it delivers to all stakeholders."
Outsiders can buy dividend-carrying units in Fonterra's farmer-owned shares but they cannot vote on how the company is run.
Lister said the sale of New Zealand icecream maker Tip Top as part of an asset sale drive to address Fonterra's high debt could have also affected share price sentiment.
The company has pledged to reduce debt by $800 million this year. Last year it posted a first-ever full year loss - of $196m - and recorded debt of $1.6 billion.
"It probably talks to credibility. We'd all have liked them to own Tip Top. It's a good brand. You don't want to be selling good assets just to solve short term issues around too much debt."
Lister said the forecast earnings downgrade in May could have been Fonterra trying to lower expectations.
"But it points to a slower recovery in some of those key markets and costs are still looking a bit higher than they would probably like."
The rest of market, including other dairy sector companies, was doing well. Year to date while Fonterra's share price had fallen, the NZX50 had risen by 19 per cent.
"These other businesses are performing stronger and investors have many more options in this sector than they had in the past. The best thing you could have done as an investor over the last three or four years is ignore Fonterra completely and invest elsewhere."
Both Rimer and Lister noted a cooling in global dairy prices.
Rimer said it denoted a little more stability which could be of some benefit to Fonterra's cost base, milk payment to farmers being its biggest cost.
Lister said while easing global dairy prices were not an entirely bad thing for Fonterra, they did impact on investor sentiment.
Asked how much longer the share price might keep falling, Rimer said forecasting around Fonterra wasn't easy.
"I have followed this company long before the shareholder fund and forecasting ability is very tricky. There are so many moving parts and it's so big. You can get run over by something unforeseen.
"But ultimately the aim of the restructure is to simplify. Not so many moving parts makes it easier to manage."
Farmer advocate, the Fonterra Shareholders' Council, said the big concern wasn't the recent decline in the share price.
"It's the deterioration in the last 18 months from $6," said chairman Duncan Coull.
There was a "very real distinction" between the share price as it affected farmers and unit holders, he said. For farmers it established the value of their investment in the cooperative and its decline would be affecting farmer borrowing ability, he said.
"That's a real concern. It's probably having more of a material effect on-farm than it is on Fonterra in terms of the value of the assets we hold and secure against."
The share price reflected "where the co-op is right now and the confidence going forward given the strategy refresh and the lack of visibility and transparency over future earnings".
"Until such time as the board and management come out in September with a new strategy and confidence builds around that to build sustainable returns, I don't see the share price shifting too much."
The council, which represents Fonterra's 10,000-or so farmers, reported $1.5 billion was written off farmer balance sheets in the 2018 financial year - the effect of a 27 per cent fall in the share price and a constrained dividend.