New Zealand dairy business Synlait Milk has appointed CFO Rob Stowell to the newly created position of chief commercial officer.

Charles Fergusson, Synlait’s director of on-farm excellence and business sustainability, will take on the CFO role on an interim basis.

Stowell will “assume responsibility for several critical strategic workstreams”, Synlait said. The projects include the sale of Dairyworks, a review of its assets in New Zealand’s North Island, a potential equity raise and the company’s relationship with its banking syndicate relationship.

Earlier this month, Synlait agreed to a debt extension with creditors as the dairy business slumped to a loss and slashed its profit guidance.

After disclosing a missed NZ$130m ($77.5m) debt repayment, Synlait has been granted an extension from 28 March to 15 July at the latest to meet those obligations.

In a multi-faceted stock-exchange announcement last week, Synlait also outlined financial commitments from its largest shareholder, China’s Bright Dairy, amendments to the company’s banking facilities and plans to raise additional capital from debt and equity.

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A review of Synlait’s infant formula blending and canning plant in Pokeno in New Zealand’s North Island and the manufacturing facility in Auckland will also be launched as the business seeks to reduce NZ$559m in debt and improve its financial performance.

The company first announced plans to sell Dairyworks in June last year.

Synlait reported a first-half net loss after tax of NZ$96.2m through to 31 January, compared to a NZ$4.8m profit a year earlier.

The company’s adjusted net loss after tax was NZ$17.4m, wider than the NZ$8.9m loss a year earlier.

EBITDA dropped to NZ$19.9m from NZ$51.5m in the corresponding period. Adjusted EBITDA fell to NZ$36.1m from NZ$55m.

Revenue was up 3% at NZ$793.5m.