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Current as of 22/12/14 07:00AM NZST

Jamie Gray

Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the New Zealand Herald and NZME. news service.

Meridian Energy drops below issue price

The Benmore power station, one of Meridian Energy's key assets. Photograp/ Richard Robinson
The Benmore power station, one of Meridian Energy's key assets. Photograp/ Richard Robinson

Meridian Energy's instalment receipts fell 2.5c to 0.99c - below their issue price - in early afternoon trading today.

Weakness was across the board among the power generators. Mighty River Power, which listed in May, dropped 5c to $2.10 - a post-float low, while the Origin Energy-controlled Contact Energy was down 5c at $4.90.

Trustpower dropped 1c to $6.66.

Meridian said on Monday that the average price it received for its power generation in the September quarter was 22 per cent lower than the same quarter last year, mostly reflecting higher-than-average lake levels, but Matt Goodson, managing director at Salt Funds Management, said that would not have come as a surprise to the market.

Goodson said there was no "new" news driving the stock, although it was possible the weakness came from funding pressure as people sold to take up shares in Air NZ after the government released 20 per cent of the stock onto the open market.

"It's still the case that wholesale electricity prices are just not going anywhere," Goodson said. "Retail churn is still relatively high, which hurts all the players, and there is still the distant threat of big changes to the electricity market structure," he said.

Meridian's report said above average inflows and strong wind conditions meant its New Zealand generation was 143 per cent higher in the quarter than the same period last year.

The company said national demand continued to be influenced by the longer term decline in industrial demand.

Meridian's $1.00 receipts debuted strongly when they hit the NZX last month - reaching $1.11 at one point -- but have since gradually eased back in price. The final instalment - 50c - is due on May 15, 2015.

- NZ Herald

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