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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall as investors mull IPOs

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall as investors mull IPOs; Infratil, Fletcher, Telecom drop

By Suze Metherell

May. 27 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell as investors held back cash for upcoming listings. Infratil led the market lower as it shed rights to its full-year dividend. Air New Zealand, Trade Me Group and Telecom paced the decline.

The benchmark index fell 7.834 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5145.85. Within the index, 23 shares fell, 18 rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was thin for a second day at $82 million as Wall Street and UK markets were closed overnight for national holidays.

Investors mulled two initial public offer documents released yesterday. Gentrack, the utility and airport software company, said it will use cash raised in its IPO to become debt free and buy shares from the existing owners. It may

look at acquisitions of up to $20 million to add compatible software or enter new markets. Serko, the online business travel booking company, said it was seeking up to $22 million in its IPO to fund growth aspirations across the Asia Pacific region.

"The market's valuation is towards the higher end of its current pricing, so the market will look at new opportunities. There is activity, but maybe activity is a little more focused off than on market at this time," said Nigel Scott, a director at Craigs Investment Partners. "There are several IPOs coming up in the next month or so. Most portfolios are pretty well set, so they're awaiting these new opportunities to see if they'll put additional cash towards new issues."

Infratil, the infrastructure investor, fell 2.4 percent, or 6 cents, to $2.44 after it shed rights to its final 7 cents dividend.

Air New Zealand fell 1.8 percent to $2.16. Trade Me Group dropped 1.4 percent to $3.58 and Telecom declined 0.9 percent to $2.645. Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, slipped 0.8 percent to $9.13.

MightyRiverPower fell 0.7 percent to $2.235. The government-controlled energy generator and retailer said it was mulling a $250 million unsecured subordinated capital bonds offer, which it would use to repay bank debt and extend its funding profile.

Pacific Edge fell 1 percent to 97 cents ahead of the security software company releasing its full-year earnings tomorrow.

Outside the benchmark index, Green Cross Healthcare rose 1.5 percent to $1.35, after the healthcare provider formerly known as PharmacyBrands said it boosted annual profit 14 percent to $18.8 million, as its new pharmacy and medical acquisitions came on stream.

Moa Group fell 11 percent to 55 cents after the boutique beer maker posted a wider full-year loss of $5.8 million and said major shareholders Pioneer Capital and the Business Bakery have committed to providing enough financial support to allow the company to keep operating for at least the year ahead.

Tower fell 0.6 percent to $1.70 after the general insurer reported a 70 percent slide in first-half earnings to $13.1 million, reflecting gains from asset sales a year earlier that weren't repeated.

Kirkcaldie & Stains was unchanged at $2.00. The Wellington department store has entered into separate conditional sale and purchase agreements for the sale of the two buildings comprising its Harbour City Centre.

(BusinessDesk)

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