New listings in the air at investor day

Potential new sharemarket floats will be the buzz at a stock exchange investor day next month as six unlisted growth companies take part in a briefing on the future of New Zealand corporates.

The six are joined by newly listed Building Society Holdings and software venture Xero, which has now been listed for four years.

One of the participants, vehicle tracking company Imarda, confirmed a public share offer was being considered.

"Exploring [a listing] is definitely on our agenda," said chairman and chief executive Selwyn Pellett. "We've already been talking to brokers and investors and doing what I'd call a sniff test, and their response has been extremely positive."

If the company pursued a share offer, he said, it was likely to be in July or August and aim to raise about $20 million.

Imarda's technology uses GPS alongside cellphone and other wireless communication to help customers track and manage their vehicle fleets. It operates in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and the United States.

Mr Pellett said the company's business strategy aimed for "massive expansion" which required cash. But "integral with our business model is not just cash, it is the public listing because there will be need in our business model to come back to the market for more capital. It's very similar to the Xero model."

As co-founder and chief executive of Endace, the first New Zealand company to list on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market in 2005, Mr Pellett said he had seen first-hand the sales boost from having a strong and visible balance sheet.

"Even if you can get money from somewhere else as opposed to getting it from the public and therefore having it listed, it doesn't have the same impact on the business – it gives you the money to grow but doesn't shorten the sales cycle because potential customers can't see what your financials look like," he said.

Other companies at the NZX investor day will be baby buggy maker Phil & Teds, campervan renter Jucy, pet care company Masterpet, jetpack maker Martin Aircraft Co and trans-Tasman printer Opus Print Group. Opus has been identified before as a candidate for public listing. A year ago market sources said it was considering a share offer to help fund its expansion plans and provide cash for its private-equity owner, Knox Investment Partners.

Knox managing director Bret Jackson said the Opus NZX presentation would be made by its chief executive, Cliff Brigstocke.

"All I'd say right now is the IPO concept is something we've been looking at for quite some time," Mr Jackson said.

Executives of Phil & Teds and Masterpet said neither company had immediate plans for a listing. Martin Aircraft and Jucy could not be reached for comment.

BusinessDay.co.nz