UPDATED: Frenzy as Fonterra shareholder fund goes live

Fonterra shareholder fund units listed on the NZX today at $5.50 but quickly rose by more than a dollar, with the first trade going through at $6.66.

Fonterra shareholder fund units listed on the NZX on Friday at $5.50 but quickly rose by more than a dollar, with the first trade going through at $6.66.

Fonterra shareholder Philip van der Bijl stepped up to ring the market bell on the stroke of midday to kick off live share trading among the co-operative’s farmers and and cut the ribbon on the co-op’s new Darfield site, its first new greenfields site in 14 years.

Fonterra chairman-elect John Wilson said the launch of Trading Among Farmers and opening of the new Darfield site boded well for the future.

Trading Among Farmers (TAF) has two elements: the Fonterra Shareholders Market, which lets farmers trade Fonterra shares among themselves, and the Fonterra Shareholders Fund, which enables the public to trade units that don't constitute a direct voting interest in themselves.

"Trading Among Farmers provides Fonterra with a stable capital base and creates the conditions of confidence for us to invest in the most productive areas to add value, grow our brands beyond existing positions and compete strongly in the most rapidly growing dairy markets in the world - south east Asia, Middle East and, of course, China," he said.

"Today for the first time in Fonterra’s history, farmer shareholders are able to buy and sell shares among themselves on the Fonterra Shareholders’ Market. At the same time, members of the public can now gain exposure to a New Zealand success story and the world’s largest dairy processor by buying Units in the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund."

NZX chief executive Tim Bennett told the Herald the high level of interest in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund reflected a healthy appetite for New Zealand assets, while Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings said it would probably take a couple of weeks for unit prices to settle.