Boutique brewer makes sharemarket debut

GOOD START: Moa's shares closed at $1.30 apiece, 4 per cent above its $1.25 listing price.
GOOD START: Moa's shares closed at $1.30 apiece, 4 per cent above its $1.25 listing price.

Shareholders of boutique brewer Moa probably quaffed a celebratory bottle of the company's wares yesterday after its stock price leapt out the gate at its sharemarket debut.

The firm's shares closed at $1.30 apiece, 4 per cent above its $1.25 listing price, having hit a peak of $1.35 during the day's trading.

Activity in the stock was high, with more than 40,000 shares changing hands over the five hours it traded, a level that was higher than 11 other firms listed on the benchmark NZ50 index.

The activity appeared to be driven by pent-up frustration, with the $1 million of publicly available shares oversubscribed by 124 per cent. The company was forced to scale the offering among investors who pre-applied, and those who hadn't were forced to buy them on the open market.

The firm also raised an addition $15m through allocations to institutional investors and clients of NZX firms. In total 38.4 per cent of the company was floated.

A senior investment adviser at One Path New Zealand, Craig Brown, said the high level of demand was a positive sign for New Zealand's capital markets, showing investors were prepared to stake cash when the right opportunity came along.

Moa is owned by Business Bakery, Pioneer Capital and Allan Scott Wines.

The Business Bakery, and its chief Geoff Ross, made its name by selling vodka brand 42 Below to Bacardi, floating candle maker Ecoya on the NZX, and buying a majority stake in finance company Dorchester Pacific.

Brown cautioned investors about getting too bullish about the stock, saying IPO fever shouldn't get in the way of making investment decisions based on the fundamentals.

The brewer plans to spend the $16m it raised on expanding its bottle-handling capacity to 50,000 cases a month from 14,000 cases currently, but its prospectus forecasts a net loss of $3.5m for the year to March 2013.

Nor should investors expect capital gains too quickly if Ecoya's record is anything to go by. It took 18 months before the firm's share price broke back above its listing price of $1 per share, and they are currently trading at $1.05. Fairfax NZ

The Dominion Post