News briefs: Parmalat, Saputo and Fonterra

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Dairy group parmalat, Milk

This week, Fonterra reveals its milk supply concerns, Saputo posts
profit growth from its North American focus, and Parmalat says it
is meeting its financial expectations for the year.

Saputo getsUSdairy sales boost ​Consolidated revenues were up 25.6 per cent to CAN$1.2bn for dairy processor Saputo during its latest third fiscal quarter, driven partly by improved performances within the US dairy product sector, the company said. Operating profit was also up, climbing about 19 per cent to CAN$137m over the three-month period ending 31 December. The growth allowed the company to offset a CAN$2m decrease in operating profits from its grocery products division, which suffered from higher raw material costs and sale volumes declines, the company said. In terms of the company's Canadian and Other Dairy Products sector, operating profit was up by 13.1 per cent to CAN$95.6m, attributed to a mix of rationalisation activities in Canada and sales volume increases in the country for its fluid milk operations. For the US dairy products operations, operating profit increased by 55.2 per cent for the quarter, amounting to CAN$37.2m Parmalat meeting profit plan ​Italy-based dairy group Parmalat says that it has stayed on track to meet its profitability aims, despite a €150m hike in milk costs. The company announced yesterday that operating profit for the three-month period ending 31 December was up by 5.6 per cent to €367m, though operating margins remained unchanged at 9.5 per cent. Parmalat claims that the improvements have been the result of higher prices for its goods, and an improved portfolio of value added goods on the market. These retail measures were backed up by focusing on improved operating efficiency and marketing drives, according to the company. Group revenue was also up for the quarter, increasing by 6.3 per cent to €3.86bn over the same period last year, on the back of sales growth throughout its international operations. Fonterra chairman bemoans further drought impact ​The chairman of New Zealand-based dairy co-op Fonterra has today said that continued drought conditions in the country have seen milk production fall behind last year's levels. Henry van der Heyden said that the impacts of dry spells over the summer could cost farmers as much as NZ$500 million by the time the season ends in May, with significant rainfall now needed to turn around the supply issues. "This has really taken the shine off what should have been a fantastic season for our farmers, with a record payout,"​ he stated. "Farmers are facing up to some very real challenges, both in terms of lost cash flows and also in managing their farms with very little feed available."​ Fonterra had anticipated that milk supply would climb three per cent for the 2007 to 2008 season, compared to the previous year.

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