Mighty River disclosure criticised

JASON KRUPP
Last updated 14:10 20/03/2013

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Investment sources say the selective disclosure of Mighty River Power financial information before the float is above board, even though mum-and-dad investors are still in the dark.

The partial-listing of the state owned energy generator and retailer again has made headlines after it was revealed institutional investors had been privy to a number of research reports from brokerages involved in the deal.

Meanwhile retail investors, who stand first in line to buy the shares, are still waiting for the official prospectus and investment statement to be released about the middle of next month.

A source in the investment community, who asked not to be named, said the reports appeared to be based on information that was mostly available in the public arena and were a typical part of pre-IPO marketing activities. The reports put the price range at between $2.36 and $3.06 though this is not indicative of final pricing, such is subject to the Government's final sign off.

The only non-public information appeared to be MRP's financial estimates for 2013 and 2014, but these would come out when the investment statement and prospectus were released.

"There's three months of heavy petting that goes on before anything happens (on these deals) and we are well in the heavy petting phase," the source said.

The source added that any investment decision would be based on the detailed information contained in the prospectus, effectively putting institutional investors on an even footing with mum-and-dad share-buyers.

Meanwhile Barry McLauchlan, head of advice for JB Were (one of the joint-lead managers on the deal), said the perception from the reports was that brokerage clients were being privileged with advice that was not available to the public.

"That is just not the case," McLauchlan said.

The Labour party has called foul on the selective disclosure, with SOE spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove saying, "yet again mum-and-dads are not first in the queue for this information".

"This is starting to get into the realm of dodginess," he said.

MRP is expected to be floated before the middle of this year.

Provided market conditions are still supportive, the Government is expected to follow up with a partial sale of Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy before the end of the year.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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