Genesis investors face scaling back

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 16:05 16/04/2014

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Genesis Energy investors face heavy scaling, with 68,000 applying for a slice of the final state asset sale.

Finance Minister Bill English and State-owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said today that there was keen interest in Genesis, meaning scaling was required across all investor groups.

"A progressive scaling policy has been applied to the general offer as part of the Government's commitment to put New Zealanders at the front of the queue for shares," they said in a statement.

Retail investors will get no more than $5000 worth of shares, while stronger than expected demand in the retail offer meant the level of shares available in the broker firm offer was reduced by 20 per cent.

This means New Zealand retail investors will hold 26.7 per cent of the company, New Zealand institutions 10 per cent, overseas institutions 12 per cent and participating iwi 0.3 per cent. The Crown will retain a 51 per cent stake.

English conceded that the Crown may have been able to get more for the sale of a stake of Genesis, with better than expected demand from retail investors.

"At the time when we set the price we went through a transparent process and people thought the price was better than expected," he said.

"So it just shows how these things can turn around. It turns out there's quite a lot of demand for Genesis shares.

"Three months ago, a lot of people were saying we shouldn't even try to float it because no-one would want it."

With market participants warning that the NZX was too focused on electricity companies, the Government initially said it may sell only 30 per cent of Genesis.

Demand from retail investors especially had been "better than expected", English said.

"We got the best price on the day, which reflected value to taxpayers and the market interest three or four weeks ago," he said.

"It's a bit stronger now, but who knows where it will settle at over two or three months."

Labour state-owned enterprise spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said the asset sales process had ended with a "massive bonfire of a fire sale".

He said the Government's target was for 250,000 investors.

Ryall said the share offer programme had met all of the Government's objectives, raising billions of dollars, attracting a high level of local ownership and strengthening the capital markets.

Genesis will list on the NZX main board at 1pm tomorrow.

Those who applied for $2500 worth of shares received the full amount they applied for, with progressive scaling thereafter.

The number of investors is much less than the first asset sale, with 113,000 investors taking part in the partial sale of Mighty River Power.

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The weak performance of Mighty River shares, which are still trading below the initial public offer price, is believed to have put off some potential investors in the subsequent sales.

Meridian Energy attracted only 62,000 investors.

- Fairfax Media

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