New Zealand's first major stock exchange listing of 2016 has kicked off, with shares in Tegel debuting at a 9 per cent premium to their offer price.

The stock first traded at $1.69, well above the $1.55 offer price, after New Zealand's biggest chicken producer listed on the NZX at 11am.

It is also listing on Australia's ASX.

Chairman James Ogden said the company was pleased with the early trading in the newly listed stock.


"It's a nice balance," he said. "You always aim with an IPO to leave a little bit on the table so it trades nicely when it lists."

The final pricing of the IPO was set at the bottom of an indicative range, which went up to $2.50, through a bookbuild with fund managers and brokers last month.

The deal raised gross proceeds of about $300 million - which will largely go towards paying down debt - and gave the company an implied market value of roughly $550 million.

Tegel's offer was heavily oversubscribed amid strong interest in New Zealand, Australia and further afield, with priority given to "high quality" investors, a Tegel spokeswoman said.

Grant Williamson, of sharebrokers Hamilton Hindin Greene, told the Business Herald last week that the shares could trade at a "slight premium" today, as there was likely to be demand from investors who had missed out on getting a slice of the offer.

"I think there will be a little bit of retail demand on the market when the stock lists, provided it's not too far above the $1.55 mark," he said.

Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management, which has taken a stake in Tegel, expects the company to list "solidly".

"In our view [Tegel] was priced fairly and fully on the current business as we know it ... there is reasonable potential for upside if they can grow their export business, which will however also require significant investment," Goodson said last week.

Tegel is targeting expansion into new export markets including South Korea and Japan.

Some investors expressed concerns in the lead-up to the float about the firm's ability to achieve the ambitious international growth plans flagged in the offer's product disclosure statement.

"There's clearly potential there [in new export markets] and perhaps the market may choose to pay a little bit for that," Goodson said. "It is yet to be proven."

Goodson said a key risk to Tegel in the long-term was the possibility of a spike in input expenses, including feed costs, which it was unable to fully pass on to consumers.

"If you look back to when this business struggled for past owners, feed costs were far, far higher," he said. "There's no sign on the horizon but maybe in a few years there is a different scenario."

Tegel carried out its IPO amid a market wary of private equity-backed deals following this year's collapse of electronics chain Dick Smith, which was floated on the ASX by Australia's Anchorage Capital in 2013.

Tegel's majority owner, Asian private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners, has reduced its stake in Tegel from 87 per cent to about 45 per cent through the IPO.

"[Tegel] has got to gain market confidence and that can only be done through them achieving their forecasts and their targets," Williamson said.

Tegel has forecast net profit to rise from $10 million in the year to April 24, 2016, to $44 million in the following 12-month period, thanks largely to decreasing finance costs.

The firm is expected to pay a gross dividend yield of 6.2 to 7.1 per cent.

Founded in 1961, the company has more than 2000 staff, with its core operations located in Auckland, New Plymouth and Christchurch.

It processes about 50 million chickens annually, accounting for around half the local market.

The IPO was managed by Deutsche Bank/Deutsche Craigs, Goldman Sachs and First NZ Capital.