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Strong demand ahead of Meridian offer opening

Hon Bill English

Minister of Finance

Hon Tony Ryall

Minister for State owned Enterprises

29 September, 2013

Media Statement

Strong demand ahead of Meridian offer opening

The Meridian share offer is off to a strong start, with close to half of the offer already pre-committed to New Zealand retail investors ahead of the offer opening tomorrow, Finance Minister Bill English and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall say.

New Zealand share brokers were invited to submit bids for shares last week based on interest from their clients, as part of a new process being run for the Meridian share offer. The broker firm process closed on Friday.

“New Zealand share brokers have already committed to buy 565 million shares at a first instalment price of $1 each to satisfy strong interest from their clients. This represents 45 per cent of the offer in total, and an investment of up to $900 million[i] when the second instalment is included,” Mr English says.

“We are committed to achieving 85-90 per cent New Zealand ownership of Meridian shares, so the initial pre-commitment from New Zealand brokers just one week after the offer document was lodged is pleasing.

“Officials have advised us that feedback from brokers has been supportive of the offer, with Meridian’s strong forecast dividend yields, the price cap, and the enhanced dividend yield provided by the instalment payment structure, proving to be attractive to New Zealand retail investors.

“For the Mighty River Power share offer, a total of 55 per cent of the offer was allocated to retail clients at the end of the offer. The broker allocation for the Meridian offer puts us well on the way to achieving a similar or better outcome.”

The Meridian share offer opens tomorrow. New Zealanders have three weeks to get to the front of the queue and apply for shares in New Zealand’s largest electricity generator before the institutional bookbuild in late October.

As part of the Government’s share offer programme, up to 49 per cent of the company will be sold, with the Government retaining a majority 51 per cent share.  

“We know that many New Zealanders are keen to diversify their savings and this share offer has been deliberately structured to provide them with incentives to take part in it,” Mr English says.

The Meridian share offer has an attractive instalment receipts structure:

• Investors will pay for shares in two instalments.

• The first instalment is fixed at $1 per share and payment will need to be made at the same time as an application for shares, which must be received before 5pm Friday, 18 October.

• The second instalment will be due in 18 months for all investors who hold instalment receipts at that time.

• The second instalment is capped at 60 cents per share for New Zealand retail applicants who continue to hold their investment for the 18 month period.

• During the 18-month instalment period investors will get any dividends in full, despite not having fully paid for their shares. This will give them an enhanced dividend yield during the instalment period. At the end of that period, the dividend yield will return to the underlying yield on shares at that time.

“Meridian is New Zealand’s largest electricity generator and I’m pleased that we are now at the point of offering New Zealanders the chance to become direct shareholders in it,” Mr English says.

Mr Ryall says that, from tomorrow, New Zealanders have three ways to apply for shares; they can apply online at www.meridianshares.govt.nz, they can order an offer document by calling 0800 90 30 90 and completing a paper application form, or they can apply through a New Zealand share broker if they have one.

“We have always said that New Zealanders will be front of the queue for shares in our share offer programme, so this means there are eligibility requirements,” Mr Ryall says.

“People will need to provide their IRD number, a New Zealand bank account, a New Zealand address and a declaration that they are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

“This is particularly important for parents and grandparents who may be considering applying for shares on behalf of their children or grandchildren. The person on whose behalf an application is made must meet the New Zealander requirements.” 

New Zealanders considering an investment in Meridian are urged to read the offer document which is available at www.meridianshares.govt.nz or a hard copy can be ordered by phoning 0800 90 30 90.

The offer of shares in Meridian Energy Limited (“Meridian”) is made by the Crown on the terms and conditions set out in a combined investment statement and prospectus dated 20 September 2013, as amended on 27 September 2013 (the "Offer Document"). The offer is not yet open.  It is expected to open for applications on 30 September 2013. When the offer opens, applications for shares must be made on the application form accompanying the Offer Document. 

An application has been made to NZX Limited ("NZX") for permission to list Meridian, and to quote initially the instalment receipts and then later Meridian's shares on the NZX Main Board and all requirements of NZX relating thereto that can be complied with on or before the date of this document have been duly complied with. However, NZX accepts no responsibility for any statement in this document. The NZX Main Board is a registered market operated by NZX, which is a registered exchange, regulated under the Securities Markets Act 1988.

Meridian's shares and the instalment receipts have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933 (the "United States Securities Act") or the securities laws of any state of the United States and may not be offered or sold in the United States except in accordance with an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the United States Securities Act and any applicable state securities laws.

[i] Assuming the final price is $1.60 per share (and the final instalment is $0.60 per share), which is the most a New Zealand retail applicant will pay if they apply under the Offer and continue to hold their investment in Meridian continuously for the 18 month instalment period.


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