The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Tegel management 'straining at leash' to push ahead

$300 million raised in float will help fund overseas expansion as shares jump 5.2% on first day of trading.
The shares went on to trade as high as $1.71 before closing at $1.63 Photo / File
The shares went on to trade as high as $1.71 before closing at $1.63 Photo / File

With a stock exchange float done, Tegel management are "straining at the leash" to push ahead with ambitious growth plans including domestic expansion and new export markets, says chairman James Ogden.

Shares in New Zealand's biggest poultry producer first traded at $1.69 on the NZX yesterday, a 9 per cent premium to the $1.55 offer price, following their debut.

They went on to trade as high as $1.71 before closing at $1.63 last night, giving the Auckland-based company a market capitalisation of 580.1 million.

The final pricing of the IPO was set at the bottom of a $1.55 to $2.50 indicative range through a bookbuild with fund managers and brokers last month.

Ogden said the company had been pleased with the early trading in the newly floated stock, which also listed on Australia's ASX.

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

"For the leadership team, now that they've been released from their due diligence and [IPO] roadshow commitments, I think they're really straining at the leash to get back to what they love doing, which is selling Tegel and doing new product development."

The company said the offer, which raised gross proceeds of about $300 million, would reduce debt and provide financial flexibility to accelerate the firm's domestic and export growth strategies.

Tegel, which has a roughly 50 per cent share of the New Zealand market, is targeting expansion in new export destinations including the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and the Middle East, adding to existing overseas markets such as Australia, Hong Kong and the Pacific Islands.

In the lead-up to the float, however, some investors questioned the firm's ability to achieve its international growth plans.

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

Ogden said Tegel's export expansion was a long-term play.

"These things will take time," he said. "The obvious easier market for us in the shorter term is Australia."

On the home front, Ogden said Tegel's domestic business was benefiting from population growth.

"There's still a continuing trend [away from] lamb, beef and pork to chicken - we're getting the volume benefit from that change in people's consumption habits."

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

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

Tegel has forecast net profit to rise from $10 million in the year to April 24 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 per cent 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. The IPO was managed by Deutsche Bank/Deutsche Craigs, Goldman Sachs and First NZ Capital.

The numbers

• $1.63 closing price, up 5.2% on offer price.
• $580.1m market capitalisation.
• $300m gross proceeds of offer.

- NZ Herald

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