Tamsyn Parker 's Opinion

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Stock Takes: Market down but good start for SLI

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Sam Stubbs, the former head of investments at Tower, has sold up his shares in the company, netting nearly $350,000. Photo / APN
Sam Stubbs, the former head of investments at Tower, has sold up his shares in the company, netting nearly $350,000. Photo / APN

Market down

The NZX-50 had a flat day yesterday, barely halting its downward trend which kicked off on May 13 - just days after the listing of Mighty River Power.

The NZX-50 has shed about 5 per cent since then, closing up just 1.75 points yesterday at 4455.33. But Milford Asset Management's Mark Warminger is remaining upbeat about the situation and doesn't believe it's the start of something bigger.

"Does it turn into something more severe? I don't think so."

Warminger said in every year since 2009 the NZX had had a 5 per cent to 10 per cent correction at some point during the year.

"It's a pretty healthy thing to happen."

Warminger said it was an opportunity to buy stocks at a cheaper price.

Strong start

Despite the tougher market conditions newly listed technology company SLI Systems has got off to a flying start.

The Christchurch-based firm, which builds and sells search engine tools for online retailers, listed last Friday at $1.50.

Its shares rose 18 per cent on the first day and a further 20 per cent on Tuesday to hit $2.20.

However, they took a breather yesterday, closing down 12c on $2.08.

The company raised $27 million through its initial public offer and $15 million of that will be used to grow the business in the United States, which is the biggest market for e-commerce businesses such as SLI, Britain and Australia.

No delay

The falling market is not expected to delay pending floats. Stock Takes hears both Synlait and Z Energy are on track for their respective deadlines.

Synlait is expected to float before the end of July and Z Energy is expected in mid- August.

The Government and its advisers will likely also be watching the market closely to decide when and how to put together the float of Meridian Energy.

Market players are expecting it to come in October, although it may be that only a part of it floats then with talk of splitting the sell-down into more than one tranche.

Cashing up

Sam Stubbs, the former head of investments at Tower, has sold up his shares in the company, netting nearly $350,000 from the sale.

Stubbs is currently on gardening leave after he and most of the firm's investment team were made redundant following Fisher Funds' acquisition of Tower's investment business in April.

A notice to the exchange reveals Stubbs sold the 200,000 shares he owned in Tower in four transactions between May 28 and May 31 for a total of $346,173.98.

He no longer directly owns any shares in the insurer.

Macquarie departure

The boss of Macquarie Private Wealth's New Zealand arm has left the firm.

Ian Witters, who had been with the company since 2004 and managing director since 2009, resigned at the end of last week.

A spokesperson for Macquarie said the company did not comment on employment matters.

Laurence Fitzpatrick has been appointed as acting managing director. Fitzpatrick joined Macquarie last year as business manager and chief operating officer - he was previously a senior investment manager at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.

It's not known whether Fitzpatrick will take on the role permanently. A market source said Mark Ryland, who was seconded to Macquarie-owned Brook Funds Management in November 2011, could come back and head the company.

Lindsay off

First NZ's head of wholesale research Jason Lindsay is to move to the Accident Compensation Corporation's investment team to be a portfolio manager at the end of this month.

Rumours of Lindsay's departure were circulating earlier this year but appeared unfounded when he didn't move on.

But a staff email sent out by First NZ managing director Scott St John last week reveals Lindsay resigned back in April but stayed on with First NZ with the blessing of ACC to help manage its potential involvement with the Meridian Energy float.

First NZ missed out being appointed joint lead manager last week. Lindsay, who had been with the firm for 10 years, has been released early and will leave on June 30.

Kar Yue Yeo, First NZ's director of equity research, will step into his shoes.

St John's email said the firm was also in the process of making two other hires. Stock Takes understands one of its other research analysts may also be moving on.

Thumbs up

Morningstar analyst Nachi Moghe has placed a hold recommendation on Ebos Group after its $1.1 billion acquisition of Symbion and has put a valuation of $9 per share on the stock.

The Kiwi pharmaceutical distributor announced the deal to buy the Australian business last week in what is likely to be one of the biggest transactions done in New Zealand this year.

Moghe said the deal propelled Ebos into the big league but warned Ebos' shares looked expensive. "We believe Ebos' shares are fully priced at current levels and provide little scope for price appreciation. We also raise our uncertainty rating for the stock from medium to high pending a detailed review of the transaction."

Ebos shares were trading at $9.54 before the deal was announced and spiked up to over $10 on the news. They closed up 5c yesterday at $10.25.

The deal is subject to shareholder approval at a meeting on June 14.

- NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor. A business journalist for ten years, she has worked in the UK and NZ for the New Zealand Herald, the National Business Review and a specialist publication on investment products for financial advisors. She is passionate about helping readers learn more about to make their money work for them.

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