Blog: Dean BestWhile we're off, catch up on some tasty morsels

Dean Best | 28 August 2016

just-food is closed on Monday (29 August) for a public holiday but, while we down tools, catch up on some must-read insight and interviews.

Last week, in a week of notable numbers from some major players in the dairy sector, the figures from Swiss group Emmi stood out.

The first-half results from the Caffe Latte and Onken owner, published on Tuesday, demonstrated the company's recent efforts to improve its profitability. The figures led to a cut to Emmi's forecast for 2016 sales but the company upped its estimate for annual operating profit, the numbers pleased analysts and the company's share price rose.

We discussed the performance with Emmi CEO Urs Riedener and you can read our interview in full here.

The last 12 months have seen Murray Goulburn feature heavily in business headlines in Australia. Over the past year, Murray Goulburn has listed on the country's stock market to raise capital, a move it said at the time would "sustainably maximise" farmgate milk prices and future earnings.

However, after that heady day last July, things at the company have curdled. Murray Goulburn cut payments to its farmer-owners and issued a series of profit warnings as it grappled with lower global commodity costs and an intensely competitive domestic consumer market. Controversy over Murray Goulburn's profitability and the decision to list prompted CEO and managing director, Gary Helou, and its CFO, Brad Hingle, to resign from their positions in April.

On Wednesday, Murray Goulburn reported a decline in sales for the year to 30 June but a rise in earnings, although that metric only met the company's revised forecast when it announced a profit warning in April. "FY16 has been a challenging year for our co-operative," Murray Goulburn interim chief executive David Mallinson said.

Discussing the results further on Wednesday, Mallinson took the opportunity to point to some bright spots in Murray Goulburn's performance and outline a series of initiatives to improve sales and profitability. You can read our takeaways here.

Last week, our analysis pages also carried a guest column from e-commerce consultants Profitero. Keith Anderson, vice president of strategy and insights at the company,looked at Wal-Mart Stores' recent move to buy fledging US online retailer Jet.com and what the deal could mean for both businesses and for manufacturer suppliers.

When we're back on Tuesday, we'll run part two of our interview with Emmi CEO Riedener, in which he will talk about the company's outlook for the rest of 2016, its prospects in 2017, its M&A strategy and the potential impact of Brexit on the business.

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