Law firm Chapman Tripp is predicting the NZX will attract just three initial public offers this year - a level that means the market is unlikely to grow again this year.

While the value of listed companies rose last year, the number of issuers declined for the first time in five years.

Roger Wallis, a partner at the law firm, says three listings or even five means the local bourse is not really sustainable.

"It is not terminal but it could be if we are not careful," he says.

Advertisement

He believes too many New Zealand based companies are choosing to list only on Australia's stock exchange.

Wallis points to Powerhouse Ventures, Volpara Health Technologies and 9 Spokes as examples of New Zealand companies that have all chosen to raise money and list on the ASX rather than listing in their home country market.

At the same time other big corporates which could have listed here have either been sold to private overseas interests or have listed in other countries - that includes the Sistema sale to a US Fortune 500 company, Brew Group, the owner of Bell Tea which was sold to a Dutch company and Bendon which will back-door list on the NASDAQ.

Wallis says part of it is the cycle we are currently in with private equity investors cashed up and looking to buy but he believes the NZX could do better.

"I don't want to bag them, they are trying, but if we were to put a lot of extra resource into it, it could be better."

Wallis would like to see 10 new listings a year and says they could come from a variety of places like more mixed-ownership models at both a local council and government level.

He points to Ports of Auckland and says that is a prime business that could benefit from a partial listing and says while the government promised not to list any more businesses in this term they could consider others if re-elected including the likes of TVNZ.

He would also like to see more Australian-listed companies with New Zealand businesses dual listing on the NZX.

There has been a big shift in the last year for New Zealand listed companies to also list on the ASX through a foreign exempt listing.

In 2015 nine main board companies had a foreign exempt listing on the ASX but last year that increased to 34.

Wallis says the move means Australian institutional investors can invest in those companies which is good news for New Zealand companies who get access to more investors.

The NZX does benefit through more share trading but it would be better if it could have more secondary listing business as well.

Beat them or join them?
The NZX has always struggled to compete with the ASX so it begs the question as to why not just join them?

Wallis says there has been global mergers of exchanges in recent years.

"But the danger in that is if the ASX were to get approval to take over the NZX they would only focus on the more profitable end of the business - the big corporate listing fees."

Wallis believes it is also important for our own identity to have a local bourse.

But he does think it would be better for the NZX to consider rolling its three boards into one.

Currently there is the main board, NZAX which is closed to new listings and NXT which was launched in 2015 to target growth companies with revenue of $10m to $100m.

NXT has so far only managed to attract four listings and Wallis believes its requirements are too restrictive.

"I think it makes sense to roll them all together."

Rather than having three sets of listing rules different rules could apply to different parts of the market, he says.

The NZX is currently in the process of appointing a new chief executive and it will be interesting to see what changes a new broom could sweep in.

Results Peak
Results season will swing into full action next week and there's going to be some busy days for analysts and investors alike with some serious diary date clashes.

Tuesday and Thursday are set to be the busiest.

PGG Wrightson, Tourism Holdings, Heartland Bank, Comvita and Mercury are all due to announce half year results on Tuesday while Trade Me, Summerset Group, Air New Zealand, SLI Systems and Vital Healthcare Property Trust will all come out with results on Thursday.

Gentrack is also set down to hold its annual general meeting on Thursday.

Analysts and investors have previously petitioned companies to try and get better co-ordination for result releases but it never seems to get any better.

Sandwiched between the two busiest days of the reporting season Wednesday will also see half year results from market heavy-weights Meridian Energy and Fletcher Building.

Fletcher Building is seen as a bell-weather stock for the New Zealand economy.

In the past the company had a much bigger investment in the Australian market but it's now very much New Zealand-centric and has a big focus on residential building.

It will be interesting to note how it sees the building environment with the slow-down in Auckland house sales and property price growth countered by the ongoing demand for new supply.

Canterbury's residential re-build is pretty much done so the focus is really on Auckland now.

According to estimates by the ANZ bank in Treasury documents, released by the Labour party this week, the housing shortage in New Zealand has reached 60,000 and is growing by 40 houses a day.

ANZ estimated that the gap between supply and demand was 4000 houses each quarter.

That will be music for the ears of Fletcher Building's executive team.