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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain as Goodman JV sells

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain as Goodman JV sells Auckland precinct, Ryman posts record profit

By Paul McBeth

May 18 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose as Goodman Property Trust's joint venture with GIC sold seven buildings in downtown Auckland, and as Ryman Healthcare chalked up another record profit. A2 Milk Co and Comvita fell.

The S&P/NZX 50 index gained 53.95 points, or 0.6 percent, to 8,657.33. Within the index, 37 stocks rose, six fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $128 million.

Goodman Property rose 2.2 percent to $1.41. The real estate investor's joint venture with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC sold seven Auckland CBD buildings to US private equity firm Blackstone for $635 million, meaning the NZX-listed property trust will reap $323.9 million.

"They had an unsolicited approach from an offshore buyer, sold at a passing yield of 6.6 percent, which given the office property is on leasehold land, and one would certainly expect another round land rental increases to come through, appears to be a great sale for Goodmans," said Matt Goodson, managing director at Salt Funds Management. "The market hasn't missed that."

Ryman gained 2.5 percent to $11.52. The Christchurch-based retirement home operator and developer lifted annual underlying earnings 14 percent to $203.5 million and said it anticipates more growth with 16 villages in the pipeline.

Goodson said Ryman always reports a "very steady solid degree of underlying profit growth" and while new sales fell short of expectations, resales were "a little bit stronger".

Rival operator Summerset Group rose 2.9 percent to $7.22, while Metlifecare declined 0.3 percent to $5.94.

Heartland Bank led the benchmark index higher, rising 2.9 percent to $1.78. The lender said it expects annual earnings to be at the top of guidance after its third-quarter profit rose 11 percent on continued lending growth.

A2 dropped 4 percent to $11.30, rounding out a 13 percent slump for the week. The milk marketer missed expectations, prompting some analysts to reassess what have been optimistic assumptions for the company's outlook.

"For the first time you're starting to see a mixture of views on A2," Goodson said. Still, the inclusion of A2 in a key MSCI index at the end of the month creates buying pressure, potentially limiting its decline, he said.

Honey products exporter Comvita fell 1.9 percent to $6.77.

Z Energy dropped 0.7 percent to $7.50 after rival ExxonMobil NZ reported a 57 percent in annual profit for 2017 on a 22 percent gain in revenue.

Among the blue chip stocks, Auckland International Airport rose 2.4 percent to $6.75, Fletcher Building gained 0.8 percent to $6.49, Meridian Energy increased 1.3 percent to $3.04 and Spark New Zealand advanced 1.4 percent to $3.54.

Outside the benchmark index, ERoad climbed 5.9 percent to $3.80 after beating annual earnings guidance and reporting a small profit.

(BusinessDesk)

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