Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Scales shares edge lower on debut

Photo / Glenn Taylor
Photo / Glenn Taylor

Shares in Scales Corporation have fallen below their offer price following the fruit marketer's initial public offering today.

The company's newly listed stock first traded at $1.61 - a one cent premium to the $1.60 offer price - but have since fallen to $1.59.


Christchurch-based Scales, New Zealand's biggest apple exporter, attracted 12 domestic institutions as investors in the offer, as well as several global agriculture funds and retail clients from all the major NZX broking firms.

The $1.60 offer price values the firm at $224 million.

Existing investors -- private equity company Direct Capital Investments, together with its co-investors the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and ACC -- will retain a cornerstone shareholding of 20 per cent in Scales following the IPO.

The final pricing of the offer came in at the bottom end of an indicative $1.60 to $1.85 range following a bookbuild process. There was strong "push back" on pricing amid investor concerns about private equity sell-downs that also saw the offer for glass supplier Metro Performance Glass come in at the low end of its indicative range and the IPO for equipment rental firm Hirepool scrapped.

The offer raised $148 million, $30 million of which was new capital that will be used to pay down debt.

"We are particularly delighted that around half the offer has been subscribed to by retail investors - New Zealanders who see the value of a portfolio containing a strong, export-focused agribusiness," said Scales managing director Andy Borland.

"Scales now looks forward to achieving the goals set out when we began this journey, in particular the exciting prospects available to us through what is a fast-growing Asian sector."

Scales is one of New Zealand's oldest companies and about 65 per cent of its business takes place in the Hawkes Bay, with its apple growing business, Mr Apple, representing roughly half of its operations.

The company has forecast net profit to fall from $20.4 million in the 2013 financial year to $15.9 million in 2014, before rising to $20.8 million in 2015.

Scales expects to pay a dividend of between 9.4 cents per share and 9.6 cents per share, implying a gross dividend yield of 7.2 per cent to 8.2 per cent, for the 2014 financial year.

A dividend of 10.5 cents to 10.7 cents per share, implying a gross yield of 8 per cent to 9.1 per cent, has been forecast for the following year.

The offer was managed by Deutsche Craigs and First NZ Capital.

- NZ Herald

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