Demand for Genesis 'unprecedented'

Share allocations in Genesis Energy, the operator of the Tekapo canal, have been reduced because...
Share allocations in Genesis Energy, the operator of the Tekapo canal, have been reduced because of demand.
Severe scaling of Genesis Energy share allocations is likely to push the share price higher when the last of the Government's energy company sell-downs lists on the NZX at 1pm today.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre said there was ''unprecedented demand'' for shares in the company.

Like Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy, the Government would retain a 51% stake in the company.

''People will now have their money back in their bank accounts,'' Mr McIntyre said, referring to the fact the scaling-back meant fewer shares for applicants.

Asked what drove the demand for shares, he said the offer came at a time of a lack of opportunities on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX), with the market fully priced.

Secondly, Genesis offered an attractive yield, or income, of a net 10%, something difficult to achieve in other investments.

The one-for-15 bonus share offer added to the attraction.

''Thirdly, with National polling so well, it has taken away the fear of a Labour-Green government changing the electricity market. There is more confidence in the sector, with Mighty River Power and Meridian shares moving up in value.''

The demand for shares was likely to see the shares move up at least 10% on the $1.55 issue price, Mr McIntyre said. Craigs had the shares valued at $1.92.

The price depended on whether those people scaled back being prepared to get into the secondary market to top up their stakes.

Institutional investors would need to decide if it was worthwhile topping up their holdings or selling up, he said.

Finance Minister Bill English said Genesis would have the third-largest share register on the NZX when it listed.

More than 68,000 retail investors had been allocated shares in the company's initial public offering. Genesis would be 88% New Zealand-owned.

The sale of 49% of Genesis had raised $733 million for the Future Investment Fund, bring the total proceeds from the share offer programme to $4.7 billion.

Keen interest in the offer meant scaling was required across all investor groups, including institutions, Mr English said.

As part of the Government's commitment to put New Zealanders at the front of the queue, larger applications were scaled more significantly than smaller applications,.

''The scaling policy effectively places a cap of approximately $5000 on all general offer applications. Due to demand in the general offer, the broker firm offer was reduced by 20%, with these shares re-allocated to the general offer.''

Labour Party SOE spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said the end of the asset sales programme was a ''massive bonfire of a fire sale''.

''Just 68,000 Kiwis bought shares in Genesis, little more than 1% of New Zealanders. This is despite massive taxpayer lolly bags to convince them to buy in. The Government is trying to claim 68,000 is a success but it is just 5000 more than the failed sale of Meridian attracted.''

The sales programme brought in less than $4.7 billion, more than $1 billion less than the midpoint of the $5 billion to $7 billion election-year promise, he said.

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