Retirement village operator Metlifecare will disappear from the New Zealand Stock Exchange's top 50 index as the market ended the week on a steady note.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index barely moved, and was 10.11 points or 0.1 per cent ahead at 11,822.84 – even though there was continued activity in the retirement, energy and travel stocks, with Air New Zealand climbing high. But market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare hampered any gains with a hefty fall.
Trading was steady with 48.65 million shares worth $135.96 million changing hands, and there were 84 gainers and 97 decliners across the whole. The NZX website again went offline in the last half hour of trading.
A majority of shareholders at the special meeting voted in favour of Swedish private equity firm EQT buying Metlifecare, through Asia Pacific Village Group, for $6 a share worth $1.27 billion, after the takeover offer had been reduced from $7 a share. There were 148 million votes in favour and just 14 million against.
The scheme of arrangement is expected to be completed by October 29, at which time Metlifecare – which owns 25 retirement villages - will be delisted from the sharemarket. Metlifecare closed at $5.97, up 1c for the day.
The other retirement village stocks were bullish. Ryman Healthcare was up 18c to $14.50, Arvida Group gained 3c to $1.74, Summerset Group Holdings increased 6c to $9.05 and Oceania Healthcare was up another 1c to $1.19.
Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said: "When the Metlifecare shareholders get their money back, a billion dollars of it, you generally find they will rotate it back into the retirement sector. And that sector is being helped at the moment by a buoyant housing market, with the September figures looking so good."
Fisher and Paykel Healthcare continues to be hit with profit-taking and a strong currency. It fell 89c or 2.6 per cent to $33.15, though trading in its shares was light with $9.4m worth changing hands. The NZ dollar strengthened during the day from US66.35c to US$66.56 against the American greenback.
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Investors are still treading gingerly with a2 Milk after its first half earnings downgrade, though its slide ended with a 1c rise $15.20. On September 25 it finished the day at $18.44. Stratful said this was a2 Milk's first ever profit downgrade – "is this the only one or will there be another in a few months time?"
Online travel provider Serko's capital raising was over-subscribed and it increased its placement to $47.5m. Serko will now be completing a $10m share purchase plan, and its share price jumped 26c or 5.8 per cent to $4.77.
Air New Zealand rose 10c or 7.2 per cent to $1.49 in a late surge, and Auckland International Airport gained 3c to $7.36. Their shares have jumped on the prospect of a transtasman travel bubble.
The dividend-paying energy stocks continued their revival on the likelihood that the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter will remain operating for the next four to six years. Contact climbed 20c or 3 per cent to $6.93, Mercury was up 4c to $5.15, Meridian gained 7c to $4.97, Genesis increased 4.5c to $3.045 and Trustpower, least affected by Tiwai Point, was up 1c to $7.16.
Other gainers were Fletcher Building, up 17c or 4.4 per cent to $4.05; Heartland Group, gaining 6c or 4.7 per cent to $1.33; and NZME, climbing 5c or 10.2 per cent to 54c.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.11 per cent to 27,752.30, and 2.3 per cent for the month of September; the S&P 500 Index slipped 0.27 per cent to 3371.90, and 3.9 per cent; and the technology-driven Nasdaq Composite rose 1.22 per cent to 11,303.61, but down 4.9 per cent for the month.