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Disclosure of interests: Brian Gaynor is an executive director of Milford Asset Management, which holds shares in most of the companies mentioned in the column, and included in the table, on behalf of clients.
KiwiSaver is a fantastic long-term superannuation scheme but it has one major drawback: the scheme's funds have limited domestic investment opportunities.
This is a significant drawback for members because there are clear advantages, particularly from a tax point of view, to investing in NZX-listed companies.
The below table, which shows the 15 largest listed NZX and ASX companies nearly 20 years ago, clearly illustrates this point.
Only four of the largest listed NZX companies in 1997 - Telecom (now called Spark), Fletcher Challenge Building, Fletcher Challenge Forests (now called Tenon) and Air New Zealand - remain listed on the domestic exchange.
The total value of these 15 companies, including takeover valuations, has increased by only 23 per cent - from $37.6 billion to $46.4b since the end of 1997.
The latest Spark figure includes Chorus' current market value as it was demerged from the telco in 2011.
By contrast, 12 of the 15 largest ASX companies at the end of 1997 remain listed across the Tasman and the total value of all 15 companies, including their takeover value, has soared 237 per cent - from A$216.8b to A$730.8b.
What happened to the 11 NZX companies that are no longer listed on the NZX and why have New Zealand-listed companies been unable to create significant long-term shareholder value?
•Carter Holt Harvey was acquired by Graeme Hart in 2006 at a valuation of $3.6b, $1b below its 1997 value.
•Brierley Investments was worth only $1.4b when it delisted from the NZX in June 2014. It is now called GL Limited and is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange with a $1.1b market value.
•Lion Nathan was taken over by Japanese company Kirin for $6.1b, Power New Zealand and Natural Gas Corporation were both acquired by Vector for $1.5b each and Ports of Auckland was purchased by the Auckland Regional Council for $0.9b.
•Fletcher Challenge Energy was sold to Shell and Apache Corporation for $4.6b and Fletcher Challenge Paper to Norwegian company Norske Skog for $5b. Fletcher Challenge Building is now Fletcher Building, although it is a different legal entity, while Fletcher Challenge Forests has become the NZX-listed Tenon.
•The Independent Newspapers (INL) story is complicated because the company first sold its publishing business to the ASX-listed Fairfax for $1.2b and later merged with Sky TV in a deal worth around $3.3b to INL shareholders.
•Wilson & Horton was purchased for $1.1b by an Irish-based company in 1998.
•Tranz Rail was acquired by Australia's Toll Holdings for $0.6b in 2007 and its core business is now New Zealand Government owned after the rail company's failed privatisation.
The first major difference between the NZX and ASX is the banks. Heartland, which has a market value of $0.8b, is the only listed NZX bank while the four major Australian banks have a market value of A$438.8b ($482.7b), compared with only A$81.0b two decades ago.