Tamsyn Parker 's Opinion

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald Assistant Business Editor

Stock takes: Shining on

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Michael Hill's Australian stores performed below par but this hasn't affected the share price. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Michael Hill's Australian stores performed below par but this hasn't affected the share price. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A drop in sales in Australia - it's largest market - doesn't appear to have taken the shine off Michael Hill International's share price.

The jewellery retailer, which yesterday reported a 2.7 per cent drop in same store sales in Australia for the nine months to March 31, has shot up from around 87c at the start of the year to over a dollar.

Same store sales were up in New Zealand, the United States and Canada resulting in an overall flat picture although including new stores, sales were up 5.1 per cent.

Shares in the company closed up 3c at $1.05 yesterday.

REBUILDING BROOK

Macquarie-owned boutique fund manager Brook Asset Management has hired two new staff.

Brook was left depleted in 2010 after three of its team jumped ship to take up roles at rival firm Devon Funds Management.

A court case ensued but was settled last month.

Katrina Kruger joins Brook as the head of business development while Frances Sweetman has been appointed to the research analyst role.

Kruger previously worked for Westpac New Zealand where she was head of advice and Sweetman has come from Macquarie Group's Sydney office where she was an analyst focused on listed property trusts.

Sweetman previously worked as a valuer and consultant with CBRE in both London and Sydney.

CURRENCY HEADWINDS

Macquarie has downgraded its recommendation on Fisher & Paykel Healthcare from outperform to neutral as the exporter continues to face currency challenges from the high New Zealand dollar.

Macquarie analyst Stephen Ridgewell released a note this week predicting F&P's full year result to be at the low end of its guidance. The guidance range was set at $62 to $67 million.

Ridgewell is also predicting a decline in profits for the next financial year and warns there may not be any improvement until at least 2017.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare is due to report its full results around the end of May. Its financial year runs until March 31.

Shares in the company closed down 3c on $2.17 yesterday.

STAYING PUT

Craigs Investment Partners chairman Neil Craig says he has no plans to step down from the board of the broking business. Craig signed an agreement to stay in the chairman's role for two years when Deutsche Bank bought 49.9 per cent of the business in March 2010.

That time is now up and Craig says he has not been asked to step aside and has every intention of staying in the role.

The board will also continue to have 12 members - six from each of the owners.

"We spent months getting it right and we have no reason and no wish to change it," Craig said.

The company had learned a lot from its first foray into outside ownership.

ABN Amro bought a stake in the business in 2001 but sold out of it in April 2009.

DAIRY INVESTMENT

A private equity style investment into direct ownership of South Island farms has sparked interest - especially in the provinces.

Pastoral Dairy Investments' initial public offering closes next Friday.

The company is looking to raise at least $25 million from small investors as well as seeking co-investors for the farms, potentially charitable trusts and institutions, which could contribute about $50 million. Commitments aren't expected to come in until the last minute but Neil Craig, who is helping to promote the investment, said interest had been strong.

"It's gone really well in the provinces - people that really understand farms and can see the wealth revolution. It has been really revealing ... we thought we were putting together something for the city people."

The company will not use any debt to buy the farms and expects to make its first investments by June with the money fully invested by June next year.

Once the funds have been invested the plan is for PDI to trade on the internet-based trading platform unlisted.co.nz and then shareholders could decide each year whether to pursue a listing on the NZX.

Tamsyn Parker

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald Assistant Business Editor

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald Assistant Business 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 writes the Stock Takes column on investing in NZ and is passionate about helping readers learn more about money and investment.

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