Rural round-up

November 13, 2012

Fonterra shares in hot demand despite unknowns – Terry Hall:

Dairy farmers should be very, very happy. It seems heaps of Asians, Australians and Kiwis want to invest in their now highly desirable, fashionable industry, even if many haven’t a clue precisely what they are putting their money into.

Even well-tested professional investors are finding the prospectus and the concept behind the $525 million Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund tough to get their heads around. It is essentially an untried investment, the first of its type ever unleashed anywhere. Essentially, owners of the co-operative company will retain full control while opening an investment opportunity to outsiders. This is to provide additional finance to further expand a crucial part of their business, which the farmers seem reluctant to do themselves. . .

Fonterra is a price taker – Milking on the Moove:

Following on from my post about how New Zealand agriculture can learn from Apple, I thought I’d look at some New Zealand companies that are doing well overseas.

Geoff Ross is a former advertising executive who rose to prominence when he founded 42 Below, the Vodka company. He and his partners have gone on to invest and run other companies which they take public. The companies Geoff and co have invested in are Ecoya which makes candles and Moa Beer.
I think he is an interesting business person to study because he hasn’t invented anything new or created a unique product. He has simply taken products which are already common place, but he creates brands that enable him to sell these products at a premium price. . .

Scientists looking at smarter irrigation technology:

Lincoln University researchers are investigating the use of microwave technology to improve efficiency and reduce water wastage from farm irrigation.

The university’s research subsidiary, Lincoln Ventures, has won government funding of almost $850,000 over two years to put its smarter irrigation concept to the test. . .

Fernbaby marketing infant formula – Sally Rae:

When it comes to travelling, Tianxi Shao could be considered a frequent flyer.

The Chinese businessman and sporting enthusiast has visited 60 countries, yet fell in love with New Zealand, captivated by the “clean, green image”.

Mr Shao is now principal of Fernbaby, a company formed to provide a locally-made high-quality alternative to the Australian and Singaporean-made infant formulas, which it says dominate the New Zealand market. . .

Wool-Rich Innovations Take Centre Stage at Shear Brilliance:

Fill your living environments with wool and do it in style – that’s the message from the Campaign for Wool.

The Campaign is hosting HRH The Prince of Wales today at Shear Brilliance – a wool showcase at The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland (1pm today).

“From a carpet couch to a wool peg necklace, from grass grown on wool dags to Tiki artwork on Merino, from Zambesi’s carpet bag to the loftiness of wool knops, Shear Brilliance will surprise and delight anyone who might have thought wool was passe,” says Stephen Fookes, Chair, Campaign for Wool New Zealand. . .

Shearing Showcase At The Cloud For Prince Charles

New Zealand’s shearers and wool handlers have welcomed the opportunity to join Prince Charles in Auckland today at Shear Brilliance, a showcase celebrating the Campaign for Wool.

As patron of the campaign Prince Charles supports the industry’s efforts to raise awareness of wool’s virtues and while In New Zealand for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations visits the Cloud in Auckland to inspect a wool showcase staged by the industry.

President of the New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association Barry Pullin says Royal patronage at Shear Brilliance is an opportunity for the industry to state it’s fundamental principle that more successful farmers will sustain a more successful wool industry.  . .

Farmers urged to take early action to prevent crop damage

Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game is urging farmers to make plans now for reducing the damage that can be caused by large flocks of Paradise shelduck, and other game birds.

Game Bird Manager David Klee says that with summer approaching, farmers will start to see large groups of birds moving into their newly-planted crops.

“We urge farmers to plan ahead to reduce the damage done by these flocks,” he says. “We encourage farmers to place bird-scaring equipment out before the new grass or crops start emerging and providing birds with an easy source of food.” . . .


White powder not right powder

November 1, 2012

Selling infant milk formula for $78 a can seems ambitious but that’s the aim of Auckland-based Fernbaby.

. . . One industry source said the target seemed “do-able”, but added that the 398 RMB ($78) per can price Fernbaby planned to charge in China was expensive compared with other products already on the market.

At $78 a 900g can the firm’s trade with China could be making close to $8 million a months if it meets its targets.

Fernbaby is the brainchild of Chinese businessman Tianxi Shao, who is also the managing director of Sotx, a manufacturer of badminton sports equipment in China.

Tianxi said the 2008 melamine scandal – in which six Chinese babies died after consuming milk and formula tainted with the industrial chemical – had partly prompted the founding of Fernbaby.

Since the melamine disaster imported formula products, which generally sell for between $20 and $30 a can in New Zealand, have commanded a hefty premium in China. . .

Our reputation for milk quality is hard-earned which is why Fonterra will be doing everything it can to get to the bottom of media reports that 165 kilograms of drugs have been found in one of its containers in Algeria.

Agence France-Presse reported that the massive haul was one of the largest ever intercepted in the North African country. The New Zealand Customs Service is also trying to establish the facts, while expressing confidence that the drugs did not come from New Zealand.

Customs said it was aware of Algerian media reports that a significant quantity of an illegal drug, either cocaine or heroin, had been found in a shipment of milk powder in Algeria.

Customs had not been able to verify the reports and was working closely with Fonterra. . .

The melamine tragedy was one case when white powder wasn’t the right powder.

This is another, though had it not been discovered, the black market price would have made $78 a can look cheap.


%d bloggers like this: