New Zealand could see a rebound in its capital markets this year but the number of publicly listed companies may still fall, a law firm is predicting.

Chapman Tripp's annual stock take of the equity markets says things are looking up for 2019 and 2020 after a tough couple of years.

Last year there were no new initial public offerings and in 2017 just one - Oceania Healthcare.

At the same time six companies de-listed from the main board – PGC, Tegel, Trilogy, Xero, Fliway and Opus and CBL Corporation also went into administration.


Three small companies migrated from the smaller boards onto the main board and one fund listed reducing the total decline to two.

But Rachel Dunne, a partner at the firm, said she expected to see signs of a slow turn around in 2019 pointing to the potential for the Napier Port to IPO.

"We are not saying we are going to see 2013/14 levels of activity. It will be more of a really slow turnaround."

Dunne said the Napier port IPO had more chance of success because it had been subject to public consultation and that could kick off more activity in the market as was seen after the partial floats of the power companies.

Other potential IPOs which could come to market in 2019/20 include Vodafone, Partners Life, CannaSouth, My Food Bag, Stuff and Salus Aviation.

She also pointed to the change in listing rules which comes into force from July which will see the closure of the NZAX and NXT markets and consolidation onto the main board and make it easier for funds to list as potential drivers.

But the market is also likely to shrink this year with a number of takeovers already in the works. Orion Health, Methven and Trade Me are all under offer and likely to de-list.

However Dunne believes it could be the last year of shrinking.


"We expect the reduction to continue, with a number of other control transactions such as takeovers or schemes of arrangement in the pipeline, but this trend will start to finally reverse from 2020."