The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Stock Takes: Tegel not crowing about IPO

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It's unclear whether Tegel is holding any kind of official listing event. Photo / Kenny Rodger
It's unclear whether Tegel is holding any kind of official listing event. Photo / Kenny Rodger

Tegel's sharemarket listing on Tuesday could be the most high-profile float the NZX will see this year. But the Auckland-based chicken producer is taking a low-key approach to its big day.

It's unclear whether Tegel is holding any kind of official listing event. If it is, media don't appear to have been invited along.

Stock Takes also understands company management is yet to commit to giving interviews to journalists on the day of the float.

The firm has already ruffled a few feathers over at the National Business Review which, according to a report published on Wednesday, has been seeking an interview with Tegel boss Phil Hand for three weeks, with no success.

It's an unusually conservative approach. Companies tend to embrace the higher profile that comes with an initial public offering (IPO) and hold listing events to which media are invited along.

Such events usually involve the chairman and chief executive posing for photographs ringing the listing bell, before interviews are given to the reporters in attendance after the shares begin trading.

Many of the New Zealand companies that have floated over the past couple of years have held listing ceremonies at NZX's Auckland offices.

Tegel has no need to increase its profile, of course, as it is already one of New Zealand's best-known brands.

The main function of its IPO is providing an exit for existing owners, including majority shareholder Affinity Equity Partners, whose holding will fall to 45 per cent following the float.

Surely there will be some kind of celebration at Tegel HQ on Tuesday - a morning tea with cakes and sandwiches, perhaps, maybe even a few chicken nibbles?

Shares in the company were priced at $1.55, the bottom of an indicative range, following a bookbuild with fund managers and brokers last week.

Court date

The next chapter in a long-running, bitter legal dispute between NZX and the former owners of the Clear grain exchange is set to kick off next week.

It's a case that goes back to 2011, when the sharemarket operator filed proceedings claiming it was misled when it bought the Australian commodity trading platform in 2009 from Dominic Pym, Grant Thomas and their associated Ralec companies.

NZX is seeking damages of at least A$20.7 million ($22.7 million).

The defendants deny the allegations and have filed their own counterclaim.

NZX's claim and the counterclaim will be heard during an eight-week trial in the High Court at Wellington, which starts on Monday.

There should be a fair amount of interest in the trial, particularly as former NZX chief executive Mark Weldon, now the boss of TV3 owner MediaWorks, is expected to make an appearance in the witness box.

The case pre-dates most of NZX's existing management and the exchange operator will be hoping for a positive outcome given the bill for the litigation was expected to reach $4 million even before the start of the upcoming trial.

NZX shares closed at $1.01 last night.

Comvita shares buzzing

Comvita products include bee pollen capsules and manuka honey lozenges.

Comvita's entry into the S&P/NZX 50 has been a boon for investors in the natural health products exporter.

Shares in the Te Puke-based business have gained almost 17 per cent since April 6, when the company announced it would enter the benchmark index.

They hit a record close of $12.40 on April 13 - the day the company took up its NZX 50 spot, where it replaced Diligent Corporation, which de-listed after being acquired by US-based Insight Venture Partners.

Comvita shares have rallied 200 per cent in the past 12 months, riding high on the back of strong demand, particularly in Asia, for the company's products which include manuka honey lozenges and bee pollen capsules.

The company is aiming for $400 million in annual revenue by 2020, a bullish target given total sales came in at $152.7 million in the past financial year, a 32 per cent increase on the previous year.

Chairman Neil Craig said the NZX 50 inclusion would increase Comvita's relevance with local and overseas investors.

Comvita shares closed down 5c yesterday at $11.75.

- NZ Herald

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The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

A business journalist for more than four years, he also writes the weekly Stock Takes column.Christopher’s main focus is the local sharemarket and issues facing Kiwi investors. He covered manufacturing and retail in his previous Herald role and maintains a special interest in New Zealand’s growing trade relationship with China.

Read more by Christopher Adams

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