MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks gain as Metlifecare attracts buyers
MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks gain as Metlifecare, Acurity Health gain investor interest
By Tina Morrison
Oct. 25 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose, led by Metflifecare after infrastructure investor Infratil and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund agreed to buy shares in the retirement village operator and developer from cornerstone investor Retirement Villages New Zealand.
The NZX 50 Index rose for the fourth day in five, advancing 28.411 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4863.353. Within the index, 27 stocks gained, 13 fell, and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $147.5 million
“It’s clearly a bull market we are in, after one day of relief, buyers returned pushing stocks higher again,” said Bryon Burke, head of equities at Craigs Investment Partners. “A major highlight in the market was Metlifecare which had a good gain.”
Infrastructure investor Infratil and the NZ Super Fund, who previously worked together on Z Energy, both plan to each hold a 19.9 percent stake in Metflifecare, the companies said in separate announcements. Shares in Metlifecare jumped 7.4 percent to $4.06, while fellow retirement operator Ryman Healthcare increased 1.1 percent to $7.48.
Infratil gained 0.4 percent to $2.56. The Wellington-based investment company also said it plans to put aside A$100 million to invest in Australian public-private partnerships over the next few years.
“It is a pretty buoyant market and if it continues it is a good market for a new listing which we have next Tuesday,” Burke said, referring to government plans to list a minority stake in Meridian Energy on the local bourse. “The timing is quite good in that respect.”
Acurity Health Group, which owns Wakefield Hospital, jumped 36 percent to an 11-month high as about 3.8 percent of the stock changed hands at $5.50. Burke said Australian private equity healthcare company Evolution Healthcare, which owns Boulcott Hospital in Lower Hutt, is paying a premium to get volume although he didn't know how big a stake was being sought.
Evolution also owns Shellharbour Private Hospital, South Coast Private and Canberra Private Hospital, according to the company's website.
Cloud accounting software firm Xero, which has jumped 15 percent the past five days, slipped 1 percent to $28.70 as investors benefited from the surging share price and took profits, Burke said.
Pacific Edge had significant volume through the market while maintaining its high price, Burke said. Pacific Edge slipped 5.7 percent to $1.49. The bladder test inventor whose share price has more than doubled in the past week, said earlier this week it wants to raise as much as $20.5 million from shareholders to fund its growing push into the US, having grabbed a beach-head with two healthcare network providers in the world’s biggest economy.
A decline in the New Zealand dollar benefited exporters, Burke said. Fletcher Building gained 1.3 percent to $9.60 while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare advanced 3.1 percent to $3.64.