A2 Milk's share price crashes, pulls down entire market

A2 Milk's share price dropped by more than 20 per cent this morning despite the alternative milk company reporting a 70 per cent cent increase in revenue for the nine months to March 31

The stock dropped 20 percent to a three-month low shortly after the market opened, before recovering slightly to NZ$11.48.

New Zealand dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd dashed market expectations on Wednesday with a forecast for annual revenue growth of more than 63 percent, sending its shares to a three-month low.

A2 said its infant formula was now in more than 9000 mother and baby stores in China, while market research in China showed that a2's infant formula had 4.6 per cent market share in March 2018, up from 2.8 per cent in June previous year.

"When they don't meet market expectations, they get a caning by the market", he said.

"It also includes the impact of seasonal sales from key China selling events weighted towards 1H18", the company said.

Harbour is a significant shareholder in a2 Milk.

A2 said today it expects revenue for the 12 months to June 30 to rise as much as 67 per cent to between $NZ900 million and $NZ920 million ($A826.8 million and $A845.2 million), but that was lower than analysts had expected.

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A2 Milk on Wednesday said it expects to spend about $NZ82 million to $NZ87 million on marketing investments for the full year, given higher expenditure primarily in its U.S. and China businesses.

A2's Milk's share price was sold down to a similar degree in March when news broke that global food giant Nestle had launched an A1 beta free infant formula in China, and today's price action may have been linked to that, said Devon Funds Management's managing director Slade Robertson.

The mid-point of the new sales guidance is 4 per cent down from the consensus of market expectations of $947m.

A2 Milk previously forecast marketing spend for the full year to be in the range of $NZ61 million to $NZ65 million.

Despite today's fall, shares in a2 Milk are up more than 40% since the start of the year.

A2 Milk believes that the A2 beta-casein protein milk is better for people, particularly those who have trouble digesting milk.

In February the company more than doubled its first-half profit to $NZ98.47 million on the back of strong growth in A2's infant formula business and higher liquid milk sales in core markets.

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