Fonterra, the country's largest exporter by a wide margin, has had another dreadful week.

The co-operative's massive write-offs were announced just four days after Kerry Group, Ireland's largest dairy group, hit an all-time sharemarket value high of €19.7 billion ($34.1b). This compares with Fonterra's inferred sharemarket value of only $5.6b, based on its NZX-listed Shareholders' Fund.

How can Kerry Group, which has annual revenue of €6.6b ($11.4b), have a sharemarket value of $34.1b while Fonterra, which has revenue of $20.4b, has a market value of only $5.6b?


The sorry Fonterra saga goes back to the late 1990s, when a