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Pull the pin on NXT, says Falkenstein

Just Water International boss Tony Falkenstein. Photo / Dean Purcell
Just Water International boss Tony Falkenstein. Photo / Dean Purcell

A new year, and it appears Just Water International boss Tony Falkenstein isn't looking to back down from being a thorn in the side of sharemarket operator NZX.

He's been a vocal critic of the exchange's NXT market, which went live in June and has attracted only two listings despite much fanfare about potential issuers in the lead-up to the launch.

Now Falkenstein - whose firm is listed on the NZAX, which NXT aims to eventually replace - is suggesting NZX pull the pin on the new market entirely.

"If it is not going to work, then get out of it quickly, before you are left with a half-hearted structure that becomes difficult to close," he told the Business Herald on Friday. "Maybe NZX have decided that the alternative exchange (NZAX) was a dog, but after 10 years of operating, it is impossible for NZX to get rid of this structure without offering a major benefit to the 21 NZAX members."

Falkenstein, who has also accused NZX of "price gouging" on fees, has previously made it clear that he has no interest in shifting Just Water's listing to NXT, which has a looser disclosure regime than the main board and is targeted at growth-focused firms valued at $10 million to $100 million.

He has claimed the new exchange is more costly and complex for issuers than the NZAX.

On Friday, Falkenstein said NZX should go back to having just one market - the main board - and invite all NZAX issuers, as well as the two NXT constituents, Snakk Media and G3 Group, to join it.

Naturally, NZX doesn't share Falkenstein's pessimism.

"We are working closely with a number of high-growth companies and NZAX issuers that plan to list on the NXT market, who see it as a great option to support their future growth," a spokeswoman said in response to Falkenstein's comments. "As anyone building markets for the long-term would expect, the success of NXT will be judged in five years."

She said the low number of listings last year - both on the main board and NXT - may have been a reflection of the equity market cycle.

Just Water shares closed at 17c last night, giving the firm a market capitalisation of $15.3 million

- NZ Herald

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