Tuesday, 16 October 2018 09:55

Patience tested at Westland Milk

Written by 
Toni Brendish. Toni Brendish.

Westland Milk Products chief executive Toni Brendish admits the co-op has tested its shareholders’ patience and she can’t ask them to hold on any longer. 

The forecast payout for the 2018-19 season is in the range of $6.50 to $6.90/kgMS. 

She says forecasting a payout in a commodity market is very difficult especially with the market turbulence caused by US President Donald Trump and Britain’s plan to leave the EU.

Brendish says when setting the forecast price they don’t only take into account the GDT price; that’s just one tool and others must be noted. Some countries are getting higher prices by not selling through the GDT system, she says. 

Reflecting on the past season, Brendish says WMP has made massive improvements. When she joined the co-op two years ago she received extensive feedback about the state of WMP and the low payout. But this time she’s had no phone calls or mail about the payout. She puts this down partly to the co-op’s efforts to improve communication with shareholders.

“I am sure [the shareholders would tell you] they are disappointed with the payout for last season, and they should be because we are at the low end of the range. But we know that even at $6.07 it is well above break-even. 

“That is still not enough, we don’t pretend it is enough and I am not naive to think people are happy because they are not.”

But with the season off to a good start in milk flow, the correcting of mistakes, new personnel and strategy and determination to produce more value-add products, Brendish is confident the days of low payouts are over and the co-op is heading in the right direction.


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