The ease with which Moa Group raised $16 million through its stock exchange float shows the thirst Kiwi investors have for "great New Zealand companies" and highlights the need for the partial listings of state-owned enterprises such as Mighty River Power, says NZX chief executive Tim Bennett.
The craft beer brewer held an event on the Auckland waterfront yesterday to celebrate its NZX debut, with investment bankers, fund managers, media and other guests mingling and drinking "breakfast beer" as drum and bass music thumped over the PA system.
Moa shares, which sold in the initial public offer at $1.25 each, rose to $1.35 after the 12pm listing, the first New Zealand IPO this year.
"Every self-respecting country in the Western world really ought to have its own brewery on its own exchange ... otherwise it would be a major oversight in a beer-drinking country," Moa chief executive Geoff Ross told the crowd.
Bennett, who was at yesterday's event, said he was not surprised by how well received the IPO had been.
Moa's float raised $15 million from institutions and clients of NZX firms, with a further $1 million raised from the public.
The public pool was oversubscribed by 124 per cent.
"New Zealanders realise New Zealand is an attractive place to invest, particularly relative to Australia," Bennett said, adding that the NZX had been one of the world's best-performing markets this year.
He said $750 million to $1 billion in fixed income maturities would take place this quarter. Fixed income investments include government bonds and term deposits.
"Investors have got money," Bennett said. "The critical thing for the market is for the Government to continue to push the mixed ownership model programme.
"If we really want to reinvigorate the capital markets then it's very important that Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis get [listed] in New Zealand, otherwise [investors] will end up investing in the bank or in Australia."
Asked if he was confident the SOE listings would go ahead, he said there were some obvious hurdles but the Government was committed and things were "looking good".
There is widespread public opposition to the listings and a Maori Council request for a judicial review of the Mighty River decision is due to be heard in the High Court from November 26.
Bennett said the Government recognised that partial privatisations were needed to jump start the capital markets.
"What we've seen today reinforces the fact that New Zealanders do want to invest in equities."
IPO price: $1.25 a share