Fonterra Seeks Trading Halt Pending Outcome of Arbitration with Danone

New Zealand’s Fonterra requested an immediate temporary trading halt on Friday to have time to consider the outcome of its arbitration with Danone SA regarding its 2013 whey protein concentrate precautionary recall.

Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, said it had been advised it would receive the arbitration tribunal’s decision later in the day.

The arbitration relates to a dispute between the dairy firm and Danone over a contamination scare involving a Fonterra ingredient used by the French food manufacturer in 2013.

Danone Nutricia, a unit of Paris-based multinational food company Danone, recalled some types of infant formulas sold under the Karicare brand in 2013, after its milk powder supplier Fonterra said there was a risk of bacteria in its products that could cause fatal botulism.

Later, New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries said tests showed the scare had been a false alarm.

“Fonterra remains in a strong financial position and any damages award will not affect our ability to operate,” said Theo Spierings, chief executive of Fonterra.

The trading halt will apply to the Auckland-based company’s securities on the Australia stock exchange, New Zealand stock exchange and the Fonterra shareholders market.