USA – Synlait Milk, a specialty dairy company, has voluntarily entered a trading halt as it rushes to negotiate the repayment of a US$130 million loan.  

The company cited the need for additional time to engage with its bankers and major shareholder regarding the repayment terms. 

According to a statement released to the New Zealand Stock Exchange, Synlait requested the trading halt to facilitate discussions with its banking syndicate concerning an extension to the US$130 million prepayment obligation due on Thursday, March 28, 2024.  

Additionally, the company aims to negotiate financial support arrangements with its major shareholder, Bright Dairy. 

The trading halt is expected to remain in effect until Tuesday, April 2, coinciding with the company’s scheduled release of its half-year earnings report. 

Synlait Milk has encountered financial strain in recent times due to various factors including weakened sales, challenges in selling its Dairyworks business, and the imperative to reduce its debt burden.  

The company is further embroiled in a dispute with its major client, A2 Milk, over exclusive manufacturing and supply rights for infant milk formula. 

Over the past year, Synlait’s share price has experienced a sharp decline, plummeting by nearly 70 percent.  

In February, the company had signaled potential losses ranging from US$17 million to US$21 million for the 2024 financial year, subject to further adjustments. 

Meanwhile in other development, Semcap Food and Nutrition has made a substantial investment of US$68 million in Aloha, a leading plant-based protein brand, acquiring a minority stake in the company.  

Semcap, a growth equity firm specializing in environmentally sustainable, high-growth businesses with revenues exceeding $25 million, adds Aloha to its portfolio of mission-driven brands. 

Despite the investment, Aloha’s employees and management will retain a significant stake in the company, preserving its status as an independently operated entity.  

Aloha, which achieved nearly 500% growth between 2020 and 2023, anticipates sustaining high double-digit topline growth in the foreseeable future. 

Brad Charron, Chairman and CEO of Aloha, expressed confidence in Semcap as an ideal partner aligned with the brand’s mission to make nutritious food accessible to all.  

He emphasized the potential for profitable growth with Semcap’s support, citing the firm’s successful partnerships with similar entrepreneurial brands. 

Subscribe to our food and agriculture industry email newsletters that provide busy executives like you with the latest news insights and trends from Africa and the World. SUBSCRIBE HERE