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Deutsche Craigs, Goldmans to run Napier Port IPO

By Paul McBeth

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has hired Deutsche Craigs and Goldman Sachs to run the planned partial privatisation of Napier Port.

The local body today appointed the investment banks as joint lead managers of the planned initial public offering and listing of the port operator on the NZX. It also hired corporate advisory firm Flagstaff Partners to advise on the process.

Both Deutsche Craigs and Goldmans had similar roles in the government's mixed ownership model of selling minority stakes in the state-owned electricity generator-retailers, while Flagstaff advised on the privatisations of the Melbourne and Darwin ports.

"We are looking forward to working with these advisors with a view to maximising priority allocation of shares to locals while protecting the short and long-term success of any IPO and the Port," council chair Rex Graham said in a statement.

In December, the council voted to go ahead with plans to sell as much as 45 percent of the port company in an IPO to help fund the construction of a $142 million wharf and meet the local authority's own growing capital needs.

Council spent two years of working on and consulting with the public before, and has indicated the share sale could raise $181 million. The local body would end up with $83 million after settling almost $87 million of port-related debt and sale costs of about $11 million.

On Jan. 30, the council discussed the proposed corporate structure to support the float, with PwC and Belly Gully advice recommending a holding company structure to provide a simple, tax efficient, and suitable liability framework for the listing process.

PwC and Bell Gully also noted that the port could declare a fully imputed dividend of up to $51 million, left outstanding as a payable until the IPO, as a more tax efficient way for council to extract funds by accessing imputation credits.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council is also seeking communications and stakeholder advisers, while the port wants to hire an investor relations specialist.

Council also said it has two directors to appoint to Napier Port.


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