Mighty River pre-registration deadline looms

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Last updated 09:14 22/03/2013
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More people have registered fro shares in Mighty River Power than the number who opposed the sale of state assets, and interest in the sale is set to for a new record.

More than 420,000 potential buyers of Mighty River Power shares have pre-registered ahead of the deadline of 5pm today.

The interest in the sale of up to 49 per cent of the state-owned power company has surprised investment analysts and indicates the previous record - 225,000 shareholders in the float of Contact Energy - is set to be exceeded.

But Finance Minister Bill English is cautious about reading too much into the figures yet.

"The real test will be if people write out a cheque," he said.

Investors do not have to pre-register to buy shares, but English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall have signalled those who do will be allocated more shares.

"Pre-registering is only for New Zealanders and those who pre-register may get a share allocation benefit of up to 25 per cent more shares than those who do not pre-register (in the event of oversubscription)," Ryall said.

The price of the shares is yet to be set.

The Government has pointed out that the number who have pre-registered is greater than the 393,000 who signed a petition backing an anti-asset-sale referendum.

But a new survey has shown a fifth of those who oppose the sale still intend buying shares in the company.

However, the Herald-DigiPoll survey also found opposition waning with just over half the 750 surveyed now against it, down from almost two thirds a year ago.

The survey has a margin of error of 3.6 per cent.

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