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Orion gains lead market to new record

Kathmandu Holdings fell 2.6 per cent yesterday. Photo / Nick Reed
Kathmandu Holdings fell 2.6 per cent yesterday. Photo / Nick Reed

New Zealand shares reached a fresh record, as Orion Health Group advanced while Sky Network Television's losing streak continued and SkyCity Entertainment Group was put in a trading halt.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 34.92 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 6944.33. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 16 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $218.2 million.

SkyCity Entertainment Group, which was halted from trading at $5.01, said it plans to raise $263 million by selling new shares to existing investors, enabling it to keep its debt in check and maintain its credit rating while funding expansion in Auckland and Adelaide.

"It's probably been the biggest news, the stock's in a trading halt but the update looked like things were a little weaker than we had expected," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "The equity raising obviously allows them to retain the Hobson St hotel, I guess they've taken the view that some of the proposals they received from the sale process undervalued it and they'd like to keep it, so they're going to raise some money, repay some debt and retain that asset."

Also halted from trading was APN News & Media, which announced it was in talks with Fairfax Media about a potential merger of their New Zealand media assets.

APN has separately outlined plans to demerge its NZME unit. Any transaction would require signoff from the Commerce Commission and other regulatory consents, agreement of the two boards and the companies' shareholders.

"We always welcome new companies, or bigger companies, entering the local market, so that's good news from our perspective," Lister said. "It's another investment option for people to look at."

Metro Performance Glass led the index, rising 4 per cent to $1.82.

Orion Health Group gained 2.9 per cent to $4.56. It has gained 38 per cent this year while announcing a series of international deals for its health systems software.

"It continues to have a very good run - it obviously had a tough start as a listed company, and got as low as $2.49 in February, but now it's almost doubled," Lister said.

Freightways rose 2.2 per cent to $6.64.

Ryman Healthcare advanced 2 per cent to $9.28. Its full-year results are due next Friday, and Lister said people were obviously expecting that to be a good result based on the way the share price is going.

Sky Network Television was the worst performer, falling 3.6 per cent to $4.06 on its fourth day of losses. It fell 15 per cent on Friday after saying subscriber numbers were expected to fall further this financial year, causing earnings next year to miss analyst estimates. The pay-TV operator said subscriber numbers dropped 1.5 per cent last year to 851,561. It expects to lose 45,000 core residential pay-TV subscribers this year and gain about 25,000 subscribers for its online services such as Neon and FanPass.

New Zealand Refining Co dropped 3 per cent to $2.61, Kathmandu Holdings fell 2.6 per cent to $1.53 and Property for Industry declined 1.5 per cent to $1.66.

Outside the main index, Hellaby Holdings fell 5.6 per cent to $2.55. The diversified investment company is restructuring its business, the chief operating officer and chief investment officer have both resigned, and it will update the market on guidance in three weeks after a weaker-than-expected second half.

- BusinessDesk

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