Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Vista shares gain on debut

Vista Entertainment chief executive, Murray Holdaway.
Vista Entertainment chief executive, Murray Holdaway.

Shares in software developer Vista Group opened up 2.1 per cent following the company's stock exchange debut this morning and have continued to rise.

Vista shares were issued at $2.35, valuing the company at $188 million, and rose to $2.40 after the stock began trading on the NZX and ASX at 11.30am.

The shares have continued to climb throughout morning trading and were at $2.53 just after 1.30pm today - a 7.66 per cent premium on the issue price.

The Auckland-based company, whose technology is used to manage cinema operations in more than 60 countries, raised $92 million through its initial public offering (IPO), including $40 million of new capital, which will be used to bankroll acquisition and development plans and pay down debt.

Vista chairman Kirk Senior said becoming a publicly-listed company would help the firm grow and diversify earnings beyond the film exhibition sector and into the broader film industry.

"On behalf of the board and management team, I'd like to thank all of those investors that have supported the company through the offer - welcome aboard," Senior said.

Vista's management software is used for a range of applications including online ticket booking, food and beverage sales and staff rostering. The company generates revenue from licensing of software products, maintenance and subscription fees, implementation of technology and other services.

"Opening up the ownership of the company to staff and investors in support of realising our longer-term ambitions reflects a milestone development for Vista," said founder and chief executive Murray Holdaway. "The new capital structure will support our next chapter of growth to become the leading provider of software solutions to the wider film sector, including growing our global share of the large cinema circuit market."

Holdaway said Vista had secured 40 new customers over the past 18 months, including the world's largest cinema exhibitor, Regal Entertainment Group, which operates 575 locations in the United States.

Existing shareholders, who include Holdaway and executive director Brian Cadzow, have retained a 47 per cent stake in the company following the IPO.

Vista has said it will use the proceeds of the float to repay debt and boost its stakes in two companies - New Zealand film analytics and campaign management software provider Movio and Netherlands film distribution software developer Maccs.

Vista's group revenue in the year to December 2013 was $38.7 million and is forecast to rise to $49.9 million in 2014 and $61.5 million in 2015. Net profit of $8.1 million is forecast for the 2015 financial year.

This week is shaping up to be a big one for the NZX, with mobile technology developer Pushpay expected to carry out its NZAX compliance listing on Thursday, which will be followed by transport software developer Eroad's float on Friday.

- NZ Herald

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