Could 2015 go down in history as the year of the boring sharemarket listings?

The rash of initial public offerings (IPOs) that took place over 2013 and 2014 included high-profile state-owned enterprises Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy and Meridian Energy.

There have also been many whizz-bang technology floats, including Orion Health, Wynyard Group, Vista Group, Eroad, Serko and ikeGPS.

The confirmed and potential IPOs we've heard about this year are a little less sexy. Auckland-based freight and logistics operator Fliway Group is looking to raise up to $44.5 million through an IPO and NZX listing, expected to take place on April 9.


The pricing of the Fliway offer - from an indicative range of $1.20 to $1.40 - was scheduled to be established through a bookbuild with institutions and brokers yesterday, although a market source said it still had not been set by mid-afternoon.

Then there's CBL Insurance, a credit surety and financial risk insurer that's been tipped to carry a float before the end of June.

Let's be clear, from an investor's point of view there's nothing wrong with companies that operate in sectors that may seem a bit dull.

New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart (who happens to be Fliway managing director Duncan Hawkesby's father-in-law), has made his most recent billions out of bottle tops, beverage packaging and rubbish bags.

And Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors to ever walk this earth, has built his empire on the back of insurance firms, whose solid cashflow, provided from customers' premiums, can be used by his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate for investments.

Some interesting companies have floated on the NZX over the past couple of years, but a number of them have been a let-down for investors since listing.

Orion, ikeGPS and Serko were languishing below their IPO prices yesterday afternoon.

On the other hand, Vista Group and Eroad have been stand-out performers, rising 87 per cent and 40 per cent since their respective listings last August.


Investors will probably welcome the addition of profitable firms with long track records like CBL and Fliway, provided the IPO pricing isn't too steep.

Listings are also expected on NZX's soon-to-launch NXT market, targeted at fast-growing firms valued at up to $100 million.