On the wish-list of companies that investors most want to see listed, Fulton Hogan sits near the top.

The Christchurch-based infrastructure and construction giant will only have reinforced that sentiment with its latest financial statements showing a profit of $180.1 million for the year to June with revenue up 28 per cent to $4.67 billion.

The accounts show Fulton Hogan last issued shares to employees under its share purchase scheme at $13.60 a piece, with the price set by directors.

At that price, Fulton Hogan could be conservatively valued at $1.92b based on the number of shares on issue, putting the company just outside the S&P NZX top 20 index.


However, the business is no doubt worth more than that given a likely discount built into the employee share purchase plan.

What's interesting is that both profit and share price have roughly doubled since 2013 when Fulton Hogan shareholders, including the two founding families, raised the final funds required as part of a $481m share buyback deal, ending a former partnership with Shell.

Back then the company raised cash through a rights issue priced at $7.60 a share and posted a net profit of $96.5m.

Fulton Hogan has just bought two Stevenson Group companies for $300m, boosting its employee count to 7963. Unfortunately for the local stock exchange starved of new listings, nothing suggests Fulton Hogan has any intention to go public.

Full disclosure

FE Investments (FEI)

one of the few finance companies to make it through the sector collapse 10 years ago, has been forced to come clean about some related party payments previously glossed over in its annual report.

The Auckland-based finance company, which is now part of ASX-listed FE Investment Group, has just released restated accounts for the March year to reveal advisory fees paid to First Eastern Securities Limited (FES), a business vehicle controlled by FEI directors Mel Stewart and TK Shim.

The accounts now show $2.39m was drawn down from borrowers and paid to FES in March 2018 and $2.09m in the previous year.


Notes to the accounts say FES provides services to some borrowers, which include "investor relations and property loan sell-down related matters".

The company said loan agreements sometimes included a requirement for borrowers to pay a share of fees described as loan documentation fees and were drawn down by the company from the borrowers' accounts.

Other additional related party items included a breakdown of expenses paid or accumulated on behalf of Stewart and Shim and their associated companies.

The new disclosures are in addition to a loan exposure of $6.8m to developer Martin Kells, who is deemed as a related party by acting for the company as a bare trustee of an entity involved in the realisation of property security on unrelated loan exposures," the report says.

FE Investments, which worked through the restatement process with auditor KPMG, said there were no changes to the balance sheet, profit and loss statement and statement of cash flows arising from the restatement.

What Kiwis want

Tech companies, with a sprinkle of marijuana stocks, seems to be the flavour of the month for Kiwi investors buying into US-listed shares through new app Hatch.

The brainchild of KiwiWealth, a sister company of Kiwibank, Hatch was launched in September as a way for Kiwis to get simpler access to US shares and exchange traded funds.

Kristen Lunman, Hatch general manager, says Tesla has so far been the most popular stock followed by other tech giants like Apple and Microsoft.

At around US$348 a pop, Tesla shares aren't cheap but Hatch's system allows people to buy a fraction of a share which can drop the entry point. So far the app has attracted around $1m in investment.

"A big surprise for us has been that people are investing in companies over ETFs (at the moment) and don't seem spooked by market fluctuations," Lunman says.

Clear as oil

With a Commerce Commission inquiry into fuel prices on the go, Z Energy has been upfront in saying its books are open so anyone can see the company's financial returns are not excessive relative to its cost of capital.

That position was somewhat underlined when the company reported a 31 per cent fall in underlying profit recently.

However, Z appears to have been less clear about its dividend policy and this week attempted to provide some clarity, issuing guidance for the 2019 financial year of 32-41 cents per share (cps), having not provided guidance at the result briefing.

Analysts read it as another downgrade given consensus forecasts were for 35-45cps.

The stock has been beaten up since the result on October 31 but recovered from a low of $5.18 on Monday to back $5.55 on Thursday.

Forsyth Barr analyst Andrew Harvey-Green gave the company a serve in a research note updating on the dividend outlook.

"In our view, the need for ZEL to update the market on its dividend policy indicates its policy is hard to decipher and the folly of not providing guidance in the first place."