Don't read too much into Fonterra delaying the announcement of its full year result say market analysts - it's not too surprising given the complexity of the bad news the big dairy company is dealing with.

Fonterra has advised it will not now be reporting its audited financial results for the 2019 financial year as expected next Thursday, and will now report no later than September 30.

Last month the farmer-owned cooperative announced it expected to report asset writedowns and one-off accounting adjustments of up to $860 million for the full year.

It forecast a loss of up to $675m, or 37c to 42c loss per share.


Fonterra said the company and its long-time auditor PwC were "working constructively" through the normal financial year end accounts and auditing process but needed more time to complete the audited financial statements.

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Fonterra confirmed its previous announcement that it expects a reported loss of $590-$675 million for FY19.

All the numbers were subject to the Fonterra board reviewing the full financial statements and to audit adjustments, the company said.

The change in reporting date was unrelated to any discussions with the Financial Markets Authority, speculation about further material asset impairments, or other announcements. It also did not affect the company's ability in any way to operate and pay its bills, including paying farmers for their milk.

Harbour Asset Management portfolio manager Craig Stent said the deferred reporting date was "not necessarily a bad sign".

The delay was only for a couple of weeks and the company had stuck to its previous announcement about the level of losses and writedowns, he said.

"(It's) just the complexity of going through these audit adjustments and writedowns. Given they've stuck to guidance as to what the losses are going to be there's no reason to believe there are further issues within the business."


Stent said he wouldn't read too much either into the proximity of the delay announcement to the intended reporting date, or that Fonterra is preparing for a change of auditor.

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Providing shareholders agree at the company's upcoming annual meeting, KPMG will replace PwC for the 2020 financial year. PwC has been Fonterra's auditor since its inception in 2001.

Another market analyst who declined to be named said the delay wasn't "super-surprising".

"They've got a pretty complex situation they're dealing with, and they've probably decided to buy more time.

"It's not a good sign but it happens. Companies do it."


The forecast write downs and impairments of $820m-$860m relate to the DPA Brazil, Venezuela consumer, China Farms, New Zealand consumer and Australia ingredients businesses.

The company will not pay a dividend for FY19.

Units in the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund closed at $3.18, down 1.24 per cent. Shares owned by farmers were at $3.19. Both have shed more than 31 per cent so far this year.