NZ investors eye up Metlifecare
Equity analysts are divided on the possibility that infrastructure investment company Infratil will snap up a stake in retirement village operator Metlifecare, but Todd Corporation and Ngai Tahu may also be in the hunt.
NZX-listed Infratil has been named as one of a few powerful New Zealand investors looking to buy a large chunk of Metlifecare when Australian cornerstone investor Retirement Villages Group sells its remaining stake in the company next month.
Infratil, which recently sold a 30 per cent stake in Z Energy through an initial public offering, raising $400 million, has, according to some commentators, shown interest in buying into Metlifecare following Retirement Villages' widely anticipated $186m exit of the NZX-listed retirement village operator.
Infratil is saying nothing about its possible interest in Metlifecare.
Wellington-based and family-owned conglomerate Todd Corporation and the commercial arm of South Island iwi, Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation, are also understood to have expressed interest in the Metlifecare shares.
Todd Corporation has investments ranging from oil and gas exploration and production, electricity generation, energy retailing, property development, healthcare, telecommunications and wine.
Stockbroking firm Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson said a stake in Metlifecare would be a good fit in Infratil's investment portfolio. "They are the type of manager that would look pretty much at anything providing they would get an acceptable return."
Williamson said while Metlifecare was not exactly an infrastructure asset it was not far away from what Infratil would usually invest in.
If Infratil did buy some of the Metlifecare shares coming up for grabs they would probably buy a sizeable stake, he said.
Metlifecare could also benefit from Infratil's input, he said.
"The Infratil management have proven over time how they can add value to a company."
Unlisted property fund Retirement Villages - which is managed by Australian fund KFP Property Group - would wipe its debt load after selling its final 37.7 per cent stake in Metlifecare.
Infratil announced on Friday it would defer a planned share buyback while it investigated other potential transactions.
Craigs Investment Partners advisor Stuart Hardie said he did not think Infratil's "transactions" had anything to do with buying into Metlifecare.
Infratil's partial sell-down of Z Energy in August has led to speculation that the company is looking at potential new investments rather than further divestments.
However, Hardie said he expected Infratil to keep its investments closer to home after troubles with its British airport assets.
Metlifecare's shares surged another 10 cents or 2.8 per cent to $3.70 yesterday.
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