Christopher Adams ' Opinion

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Stock Takes: Invivo Wines eyeing crack at NXT listing to raise capital

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Tim Lightbourne , Rob Cameron and Graham Norton drinking Invivo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Tim Lightbourne , Rob Cameron and Graham Norton drinking Invivo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Invivo Wines co-founder Tim Lightbourne says an NXT listing is a capital raising option the company is considering.

He won't reveal how much cash the company is looking to secure, but says the firm will probably raise money within the next six months.

Founded in 2007, Invivo markets its wine in New Zealand and a number of export markets including Britain, France, Canada and China.

Lightbourne says Invivo could also raise funds through private investment or equity crowdfunding.

"We're keeping our options open."

Invivo's wine regularly appears on Britain's Graham Norton Show.

Norton, one of the United Kingdom's most popular television personalities, purchased a 1 per cent stake in Invivo this year.

Other shareholders include Lightbourne and Invivo's other founder, winemaker Rob Cameron.


NEW MARKET NEWS
Stock exchange operator NZX has revealed the branding of its new market, aimed at fast-growing firms in the $10 million to $100 million market capitalisation range, which is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

It will be called the NXT (pronounced "next").

That's great, but perhaps the most interesting aspect of yesterday's announcement was the potential constituents of the new market that came out of the woodwork.

Firms considering raising capital through listing on the NXT include technology developers Straker Translations, Fronde and Booktrack, as well as Auckland wine firm Invivo Wines.

NZX chief executive Tim Bennett says the exchange operator had discussions with around 100 companies as it developed the new market, which will have a much looser disclosure regime than the main board and eventually replace the NZAX alternative market.

"They helped us design a market that would work for them," Bennett says. "Will they all list? No. But will some of them list? Sure."

He says at least two companies will list on the NXT when it launches.

Timing of the new market's debut will depend on when it receives final approval from the Financial Markets Authority and prospective companies being ready to list.


BULL RUN
The NZX50 gross index has surged ahead this month, rising almost 4 per cent since August 11 to hit a new record of 5243.7 on Wednesday.

The rally suggests investors have been pretty happy with this month's reporting season, during which some of New Zealand's largest and most widely held firms - including Air New Zealand, Fletcher Building and Auckland Airport - have posted results.

"Companies have generally been meeting expectations and in some cases exceeding them," says James Smalley, of sharebrokers Hamilton Hindin Greene. "That's kicked the index on to overall higher levels."

Rickey Ward, JBWere's New Zealand equity manager, also reckons the reporting season has been largely positive.

"Not many stocks have gone down and companies that have released results that have delivered on expectations have been rewarded pretty well," Ward says. Smalley, however, points out that while the NZX50 gross index is at record levels, the NZX50 capital index - which excludes reinvested dividends - is still a long way off the highs it reached in 2007.

The NZX50 gross index closed down 6.19 points last night at 5237.51.


US RECORD
Wall Street's S&P 500 index - whose components include corporate heavyweights such as Apple, Google and McDonald's - has also been breaking records this week.

The benchmark US index, which has been rising for almost six years, shrugging off America's economic woes, closed at a record 2000.1 yesterday.

Low interest rates and the capital being pumped into the US economy by its government have lubricated that country's sharemarket, but some commentators are predicting the rally to continue even as the Federal Reserve winds back its monetary easing programme.

"I continue to think this bull market has several years to go," Steven Einhorn, vice-chairman of New York-based hedge fund Omega, told the Australian Financial Review.

One Wall Street strategist, Barry Bannister of Stifel Nicolaus & Co, has forecast the S&P 500 to reach 2300 by year end, implying a 24 per cent gain for the index over 2014.


FLETCHER DOWNGRADED
Macquarie has downgraded its recommendation on Fletcher Building to underperform, essentially a sell rating, following the company's annual result last week.

New Zealand's biggest listed firm posted net earnings of $339 million for the 12 months to June, a 4 per cent increase on the previous year.

But analysts at Macquarie don't rate the company's prospects for achieving the earnings growth required to meet market consensus forecasts over the next couple of financial years.

In a research note the broker says the building products and construction firm has "very little real pricing power" across Australia and New Zealand.

"We think [Fletcher] management's responses in the face of a maturing residential construction cycle and price deflation are logical," Macquarie says.

"However, we don't see FY15-17 earnings revision momentum swinging positive and the stock trades 13 per cent above our mid-cycle valuation.

"We move to underperform on that basis."

Macquarie has set a 12-month target price of $8.25 on Fletcher shares, which closed at $9.29 last night.

Not all analysts have such a bearish outlook on the building giant, though.

First NZ Capital upgraded its recommendation on Fletcher from neutral to outperform - with a 12-month target price of $10.80 - following last week's result.

- NZ Herald

Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

A business journalist for more than four years, he also writes the weekly Stock Takes column.Christopher’s main focus is the local sharemarket and issues facing Kiwi investors. He covered manufacturing and retail in his previous Herald role and maintains a special interest in New Zealand’s growing trade relationship with China.

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