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NZX holds first Investment in NZ seminar

NZX holds first Investment in NZ seminar to market the market

By Rebecca Howard in Singapore

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The NZX is looking to “market its market” as part of a refresh that kicked off just under a year ago.

The Investment in New Zealand Seminar in Singapore yesterday showcased five firms as a cross-section of the New Zealand equities offering. NZX aims to replicate the event, held alongside the NZX Global Dairy Seminar, on an annual basis.

“The key feature is to tell everyone we are a lot more outward-focused, a lot more connected to our clients,” NZX chief executive Mark Peterson said. “We want to connect across the globe.”

Increasing liquidity is central to the exchange's five-year strategy, which began last November. The first seminar was about showcasing the market to get “more interaction, more flow into the market, which will improve liquidity even more,” he said.

The five companies showcased were Synlait Milk, Meridian Energy, Pacific Edge, PushPay and Heartland Bank.

Synlait chief financial officer Nigel Greenwood told the seminar that it expects its current year profit to increase “albeit not at the same rate as in FY18.” Regarding its strategy, he said the company remains focused on diversification to lower risk.

Meridian chief financial officer Paul Chambers said New Zealand has long-term growth prospects “which are very attractive”. Pacific Edge chief executive Dave Darling said it expects to see continuing sales growth over the next year from "new and existing customers” and aims to become cash-flow positive as soon as possible.

Heartland chief executive Jeff Greenslade remained upbeat about the firm's reverse mortgage product, which underscored it is a “different kind of bank.”

PushPay chief financial officer Shane Sampson said there was enormous potential for growth in the 'faith' sector as currently only 15 percent of giving to churches – around US$127 billion last year in the US – is done digitally. He reiterated the company’s forecast that it will break even at the cash flow level by year-end.

Former Prime Minister Bill English said it was gratifying to see that only one of the companies - Meridian - was an “old core economy company.”

The others are all relatively new and demonstrate that New Zealand – as a small economy – has “small, narrow but deep pools of expertise,” he said.

“If you are looking for scale of investment, it can be hard to find. Someone said to me" 'there just aren’t enough zeros'. But if you look carefully you’ll find the depth, as was on show today.”

Peterson said the NZX market has been a very strong performer globally with the highest dividend yield across Asia-Pacific exchanges.

While "interesting" events occurring on the world stage will have some effect, "the fundamentals of the business are actually pretty good.” The market has also retained its appeal to offshore investors, with around 38 percent of New Zealand listed shares on issue being foreign-owned.

Peterson added that the NZX is looking at having an office in Singapore or at least a presence in Asia.

“Be it in equity, debt or fund product, New Zealand is open for business,” he said.



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