10 Sep 2013

Sir Henry still defending Fonterra

6:39 am on 10 September 2013

Fonterra's former chairman has defended the company's record of adding value to its products.

Sir Henry van der Heyden was questioned at the Shareholders Association annual investor conference in Christchurch at the weekend about whether the company was turning enough of its milk into higher-value products - as Fonterra was formed to do.

Sir Henry said milk supply was increasing, and Fonterra was processing more and more of its raw milk into higher-value dairy products.

"If milk production had been static, the percentage it has moved up the value chain would have gone up significantly," he said.

"So as a percentage, you are right. But when you've got an industry that's actually growing relatively quickly, the percentage doesn't actually change but you're actually moving more and more product up the value chain."

It was a core Fonterra strategy to move more and more product up the value chain, whether in specialised ingredients or whether selling it in a branded product, Sir Henry said.