Chicken anyone?

A strong rally in the share price of Tegel Group has got the market talking about whether the major shareholder will sell down its stake now it is out of the escrow period.

When Tegel listed on the sharemarket in May last year its private equity seller Affinity Equity Partners agreed to keep hold of its stake for a certain period of time.

Part of its stake was able to be sold down at the end of last year and since releasing its full year result last week the shareholder is now free to sell all of its shares.


Affinity owns around 45 per cent of the company.

Tegel shares were sold at $1.55 for its initial public offer and rose as high as $1.78 in August last year before sliding downwards.

But the last week has seen the stock price de-frost, rising from a $1.05 low on June 24 to close yesterday at $1.30.

One market player said there was high anticipation of the block being broken up and sold.

One buyer is unlikely as that would trigger a takeover bid for the company.

But some of the shares could be sold down to a mix of retail and institutional investors both locally and internationally.

Flight Centre takes off

Shares in Flight Centre took off this week after the travel agent lifted its full-year guidance as increased sales made up for the impact of lower air fares, which affect commissions.


The New Zealand arm was singled out as one of the most successful parts of the global business with early indications that it is set to achieve a record full-year operational profit for the year.

This in spite of what it calls challenging market conditions - record low air fares and a competitive retail environment.

The group forecasts its underlying profit before tax to land between A$325 million ($339m) and A$330m for the 12 months to June 30, compared with previous guidance of A$300m to A$330m.

Shares roared up 7.83per cent or A$3.12 to A$43.08 soon after the announcement on Wednesday morning, and closed yesterday at A$43.57.

Flight Centre's full-year results are due to be released on August 24.​

Confession season
Harbour Asset Management's Shane Solly says it's been a good start to the confession season so far.

The season is typically a patch after a company's end of financial year and its results announcement, when either a warning of worse than expected performance or better than expected can come.

With many NZX-listed companies having a June 30 balance date investors would do well to watch out for any updates in the coming weeks.

"So far the pre-result confession season has been very positive," Solly says.

A2 Milk, Air New Zealand and Summerset have all come out with upgrades.

But the one being closely watched is Fletcher Building.

The construction company has a June 30 year end balance date and will report its full-year result on August 16.

Earlier this year it announced a big write-down and there are fears there could be more to come.

But Fletcher Building's shares have rallied in recent weeks. They hit $7.47 on June 1 but got above $8 this week. Yesterday they closed at $7.99.

Petrol price scare
Z Energy shares have been hit this week after a Government-commissioned report into fuel prices found concerns around petrol pricing.

Shares in Z fell 28c to $7.61 in the first hour of trading after the report was released, although they have since bounced back, closing yesterday at $7.73.

The study found New Zealand's fuel market "may not be consistent with a workably competitive market" with retail margins increasing over the past five years while more expensive petrol in the South Island and Wellington aren't explained by higher costs in those areas.

The study couldn't conclude that prices are reasonable, and the authors said they had reason to believe they might not be.

A market source said it was likely to be offshore investors who were spooked by the report.

Z is heavily owned by offshore investors with Australia's Airlie Fund Management owning 13 per cent, Lazard 9 per cent and Perpetual now with 8.59 per cent, having reduced its stake from 9.8 per cent just days before the report came out.

Investors Mutual has a 5 per cent stake and Commonwealth Bank of Australia another 5 per cent.

The largest New Zealand shareholder is ACC at 4.57 per cent.

One fund manager said offshore investors may also be shorting the stock - or taking bets on the price going down - on the back of the structural shift to electric cars.

Z Energy shareholders will now have to wait while the government looks further into the issue to see what it could mean for the company's future.

Solly said the situation highlighted how the government and regulators were becoming more active in New Zealand.

"That's a good thing for consumers."

But it also creates more uncertainty for investors.