Mighty River ruling boosts shares

Court decision allowing sale of state asset stokes optimism for new listings and helps push NZX 50 to five-year high.

A bid to settle Treaty claims before a Mighty River sale has failed. Photo / APN
A bid to settle Treaty claims before a Mighty River sale has failed. Photo / APN

New Zealand shares rose yesterday, pushing the NZX 50 Index to a new five-year high, as a court ruling allowing the sale of Mighty River Power stoked hopes for new listings.

The NZX 50 rose 37.40 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 4276.32, the highest close since October 2007.

Within the index, 31 stocks rose, 12 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was a higher-than-average $160 million.

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed attempts by Maori claimants to settle Treaty of Waitangi claims to freshwater rights before the sale of 49 per cent of state-owned Mighty River Power, clearing the way for the first of a series of floats that are set to give the sharemarket a shot in the arm.

NZX rose 5.6 per cent to $1.32 after the decision was released.

"That's obviously got investors interested again in what it means for the market in terms of potential flotations," said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management.

SkyCity Entertainment Group rose about 2 per cent to $4.18, Trade Me gained 2.1 per cent to $4.80 and Telecom climbed 2.2 per cent to $2.37.

"They're all good, positive income-producing companies," Solly said.

"We're coming through the reporting season without any major explosions, which is a comforting thing for investors," he added, referring to the market's rally.

PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by Singapore-based Agria, was unchanged at 41c after posting a rise in first-half profit of 55 per cent on earnings growth, allowing it to declare a 2.2c-a-share interim dividend.

Guinness Peat Group fell 0.9 per cent to 58c. The London-based firm lost £3 million ($5.49 million) in the 12 months ended December 31, compared with a profit of £1 million a year earlier, as it continues to wind down its investment portfolio.

Energy Mad, the energy-efficient lightbulb marketer, fell 4.8 per cent to 40c after projecting a loss of $1.1 million for the year to March 31, compared with a $4 million forecast profit in its 2011 prospectus and a revision just two months ago to expect a profit at the low end of a range between $100,000 and $2 million.

A2, which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits, rose 3.9 per cent to 54c after reporting that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation jumped 54 per cent to $3.5 million.

TeamTalk fell 3 per cent to $2.85 after cutting its annual earnings guidance, blaming the downgrade on the Government-imposed levy to pay for servicing unprofitable customers in remote areas.

New Zealand Refining fell 5.6 per cent to $2.55 after the nation's only oil refinery operator said an uplift in refining margins through the end of last year probably won't be sustained in 2013.

- BusinessDesk

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