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Current as of 18/09/14 07:40PM NZST

Tamsyn Parker

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Early Genesis float tipped

Genesis owns and runs the ageing Huntly Power Station. Details of its partial privatisation are expected by the end of next month. Photo / Amos Chapple
Genesis owns and runs the ageing Huntly Power Station. Details of its partial privatisation are expected by the end of next month. Photo / Amos Chapple

Details of how the Government plans to float Genesis Energy could be out by the end of next month, but fund managers say it will need to be heavily discounted to get investors on board.

Last week, Prime Minister John Key confirmed his Government's intention to complete its state-owned asset sales programme by selling up to 49 per cent of Genesis Energy.

Past indications have been that Genesis would float in the first half of 2014 on a timetable similar to Mighty River Power, which listed on May 10, 2013.

But Treasury officials are believed to have already begun visits to institutional investors in preparation for the float and expectations are that it is likely to happen sooner.

"I'm under the impression they will try and accelerate timelines," said Phillip Anderson, an equity analyst at Devon Funds Management.

Two weeks ago the company announced it had paid to extract itself from contracts that saw it importing coal from Indonesian suppliers in a move that was seen as a necessary tidying-up of the company ahead of its planned float.

Last week, Genesis also confirmed it would release its half-year results on February 12 - two weeks earlier than last year.

An offer document could be out as soon as the end of March, based on a six-week turnaround, putting the potential listing at the end of April.

Anderson said he did not believe there needed to be any changes made to the Genesis board or management to prepare the company for the float.

"I think they are ready to go. It's not so much what the company does now but how it is packaged up."

Anderson said he would like to see the Genesis offer kept simple. "I don't think they should introduce another new structure."

He didn't expect the Government to use an instalment process like Meridian Energy and said if a bonus scheme was used it would need to be much more attractive than the one used for Mighty River Power.

"It would need to offer much more of a carrot than Mighty River Power."

Investors in Mighty River were offered one share for every 25 they held up to a maximum of 200 bonus shares if they held on to them for two years from the float.

Anderson said a one-for-10 offer would be attractive for Genesis but the dividend yield would also need to be higher than existing listed power stocks because the company was seen as the least desirable in the sector.

"There needs to be a big yield and a big bonus share."

But Mark Warminger, a fund manager at Milford Asset Management, said even a bonus share scheme should be avoided for Genesis.

"Just a general equity raising where everybody understands what they are getting would be good. It's what they should have done for the first two. I think the investment bankers tried to be clever and it didn't work."

He expected the dividend yield to be at the top end of the energy sector with the price at the bottom.

"I think in terms of price they will do it cheaply enough that it gets well accepted."

Genesis was the most unloved in the sector but it could end up being an attractive investment if it was priced well, Warminger said.

He expected the offer to have a set price for retail investors but believed there would be a lot less retail participation for Genesis than Meridian.

- NZ Herald

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