AUSTRALIA – Australian Dairy Nutritionals has appointed ‘Mahi’ Sundaranathan as its new CEO to succeed former CEO Peter Skene who resigned with immediate effect to pursue other interests.

However, Skene who has been in the victoria-based business since 2016, will continue to work with the company for up to 3 months to oversee the transition of the new CEO.

Sundaranathan, according to a statement from the company, brings over 20 years experience in the dairy industry from across the Australian, Chinese and other Asian Markets.

Previously he held the role of sales and marketing director and other senior management roles for local peer a2 Milk Company, throughout an eight and a half year tenure with the business.

Sundaranathan also worked as a senior brand manager for French dairy giant Danone’s Australia business for two and a half years and held various management roles including senior brand manager of fresh dairy for Fonterra’s local operation during an 11-year period working with the New Zealand company.

AHF said Sundaranathan’s “expertise [lies] in brand management, new product development and project management in the FMCG and dairy sectors”.

According to Peter Nathan, chair of AHF, the company is confident that Mahi is well placed to work with  customers, partners and team through the next phase of growth both here in Australia and internationally.

Having carefully considered the requirements of the business we’re confident in Mahi. He has a deep knowledge of the infant-formula category in China and we look forward to the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that Mahi will bring to the role as our new CEO.”

Being a vertically intergrated business owning dairy farms as well as a processing facility, ANF is considering strategies to increase the independence of the board.

In its recent Annual report 2023, the company noted that despite the collective efforts of the its team in completing its 5-year transformation strategy, FY23 has been one of mixed fortunes.

However it noted that it is now a fully vertically integrated manufacturer of premium organic infant formula and dairy powder products

“After a long and costly period of establishing organic A2 dairy herds and organic certified farms plus construction of the purpose built manufacturing facility, the Group is now focused on selling our premium products,” the company said.

Our Ocean Road Dairies Organic A2 infant formula has been sold in the domestic market since November 2022 and while there has been a strong interest in the range from distributors and consumers, we had hoped sales volumes for the financial year would be higher than what was achieved,”

In terms ot total revenue total revenue from continuing operations the group reported US$5.86m in FY23, which is broadly the same outcome as the result in FY22.

The resultant net loss from continuing operations was US$6.9m in FY23, compared to US$1.8m in FY22. The loss is largely attributable to commencement of production of nutritional powders from the new manufacturing facility plus the attendant marketing costs without material product sales.

The net assets of the Group at 30 June 2023 total US$33.5m, a decrease of US$6.4m from June 2022. The decrease in net assets was predominantly driven by operating losses, offset by fair value increases and capital raising.

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