Fonterra announced their interim results recently, ending the first half of its 2017 financial year with revenue up five per cent on the same period last year at $9.2 billion. The chairman, John Wilson, said the Co-operative had a strong first half with net profit up two per cent after tax. They have also announced an interim dividend of 20 cents per share to be paid in April. “This reflects these strong results, especially in Consumer and Foodservice, where we kept up the momentum of our volume to value strategy,” Wilson explained. “We have further reduced net debt, which is down $793 million or 11%, and we have a strong gearing ratio of 46.6%, compared with 49.2% in the first half of 2016,” Wilson said. Fonterra’s strong balance sheet means they are well placed to develop markets and position their Co-operative for the future. Initially expecting milk collection to be down seven per cent, following good rainfall, they are now forecasting three per cent and have confirmed a Farmgate Milk Price of $6.00 per kgMS, reflecting steady demand and relatively stable prices. “Our Co-operative has forecast a cash payout for this season of $6.40 and a target full year dividend of 40 cents per share. We see some challenges and opportunities ahead in the second half but we remain positive but cautious,” Wilson added.